Tennis fans turned away from qualifying rounds

DAVID LONG
Last updated 15:24 29/12/2013
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Disgruntled tennis fans have been turned away from Auckland's tennis arena because organisers had reverted to a wet weather plan despite blazing sunshine.

The tennis-loving public had turned up to see the second round of qualifying for the ASB Classic, which begins tomorrow, but were stunned to find out that they wouldn't be allowed into the venue.

With the weather for today forecast to be poor, tournament director Karl Budge decided to put his wet weather plan into operation and play the matches on indoor courts, where there is no public access.

However, the bad weather didn't eventuate and the matches were played under glorious sunshine leaving members of the public frustrated.

"What does the weather have to do with this decision? If the weather is poor they don't play and we go home. If the weather's good they play and we watch," Stephen Mason said.

"There are matches being played at the moment, we've come some distance to see them.

"People have come a long way to watch this, Tennis Auckland should be promoting the game, not turning people away."

Budge explained, however, that the public couldn't be allowed in because he had already sent the security and first aid staff home.

"The weather forecast was for thunderstorms the whole way through," Budge said.  "For health and safety regulations we've got to have the ambulance.

"If someone trips over I'm liable, we must have an ambulance person on site as a public venue."

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