The Australian bushfires have already impacted the Australian Open, causing a two-hour delay in Wednesday's qualifying round and causing many players to complain about not being able to breathe well. Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic withdrew from a qualifying match on Tuesday for fear she would collapse after suffering a coughing fit.
With the air quality a concern, one qualifier in particular is calling out two stars for not standing up to the issue. Canadian Brayden Schnur is calling Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal "selfish" for not speaking up about potentially hazardous playing conditions, and claimed their objectives were not in the right place.
The Canadian, seeded third in the qualifying tournament, commented that the conditions are not what they should be and it is impacting the athletes.
He went on saying:
"It's got to come from the top guys — Roger and Rafa are a little bit selfish in thinking about themselves and their careers. Because they're near the end and all they're thinking about is their legacy and they're not thinking about the sport itself and trying to do what's good for the sport. So those guys need to step up."
The 24-year-old says the air quality is setting back some athletes more than others.
"You feel super dryness in your throat. That's 100% not normal and players who have asthma are at a huge disadvantage right now," he said. He also compared the air to smoking a cigarette.
Despite the two-hour delay on Wednesday, the air was still deemed "unhealthy" when play began.
Schnur says it is the bigger names in the tournament who need to speak up so the organizers pay attention to the issue at hand. He wants them to be a voice for those who are not household names and is not afraid to call them out on it.
The Australian Open main draw is currently scheduled to begin on Monday.