Heatwave wreaks havoc at the Australian Open

17:52, Jan 14 2014
2014 Australian Open gallery
VENUS WILLIAMS: bowed out early in the first round.
2014 Australian Open gallery
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: celebrates her surprise win over Venus Williams.
2014 Australian Open gallery
DAVID FERRER: won through to the second round.
Nivak Djokovic gallery
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: got a first round win over Lukas Lacko.
Novak Djokovic
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Shirt changes likely common at this year's Australian Open.
Serena Williams
SERENA WILLIAMS: overpowered Ashleigh Barty in the first round.
Marcos Baghdatis
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: shows flexibility's important for a pro tennis player.
Yanina Wickmayer
YANINA WICKMAYER: beat Dinah Pfizenmaier in the first round.
Sabine Lisicki
SABINE LISICKI: had a straightforward 6-2 6-1 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the first round.
Caroline Wozniacki gallery
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: celebrates winning her first round match against Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
Caroline Wozniacki gallery
HARD IN THE HEAT: An official attends to a ball boy who collapsed during the men's singles match between Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain and Milos Raonic.
Caroline Wozniacki gallery
MILOS RAONIC: serves on an outside court with the Melbourne city skyline in the background.
Andy Murray gallery
ANDY MURRAY: had a comprehensive win in his first round match against Japan Go Soeda.
Marina Erakovic gallery
MARINA ERAKOVIC: hits a forehand during her first round match with Sorana Cirstea.
Serena Williams gallery
SERENA WILLIAMS: untroubled in the second round match.
Novak Djokovic gallery
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: hits a forehand during his second round match with Leonardo Mayer.
Roger Federer
ROGER FEDERER: reaches to hit a return to Blaz Kavcic.
Roger Federer
RAFAEL NADAL: fires down a serve to Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Andy Murray
ANDY MURRAY: trailing 5-1 in the third set, Murray wins 23 straight points to close out a straight sets victory over Vincent Millot.
Victoria Azarenka
VICTORIA AZARENKA'S: personalised shoes during her match against Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
Australian Fanatics
'FANATICS':cheer during Nick Kyrgios' match against Benoit Paire.
Maria Sharapova gallery
Maria Sharapova hits a backhand during her third round match against Alize Cornet.
Roger Federer gallery
Roger Federer has won through to the last 16 of the Australian Open in straight sets.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Li Na in quarterfinal action against Flavia Pennetta.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada celebrates defeating Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals.
Agnieszka Radwanska gallery
Agnieszka Radwanska is through to the Australian Open semifinals.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Agnieszka Radwanska, left, shakes hands with Victoria Azarenka after their quarterfinal.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Grigor Dimitrov, left, and Rafael Nadal speak at the net after their epic last-eight clash.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer reacts after match point against Andy Murray.
Li Na gallery
Li Na celebrates her semifinal win over Eugenie Bouchard.
Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal crushed Roger Federer in straight sets, and will play Stanislas Wawrinka for his 14th grand slam title in the Australian Open final.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer heads to the Australian Open exit.
Li Na
THIRD TIME LUCKY: Li Na kisses the Daphne Akhurst trophy after defeating Dominika Cibulkova in the Australian Open final.
Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova
Runner-up Dominika Cibulkova and champion Li Na during the trophy presentation.
Dominika Cibulkova
Dominika Cibulkova pumps her fist after winning a point in the Australian Open final.
Li Na
Li Na stretches for a two-handed volley in the women's final.
Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal receives treatment on his injured back during the men's singles final.
Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka reaches for a forehand during the men's singles final.
Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka kisses the Australian Open trophy after his first grand slam victory.
Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka sits with the Australian Open trophy at the post-final press conference.

A player hallucinated he saw Snoopy on court before he fainted mid-match, a ball kid collapsed and water bottles melted on court as the Australian Open sizzled in extreme heat.

Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic collapsed during the second set of his first round match against Frenchman Benoit Paire and said he saw the comic character Snoopy out on court as he suffered in the conditions.

He was unconscious for almost a minute but managed to return to the court before losing in straight sets.

"I was dizzy from the middle of the first set and then I saw Snoopy and I thought, 'Wow Snoopy, that's weird," Dancevic said.

"I couldn't keep my balance anymore and I leaned over the fence and when I woke up people were all around me."

The temperature hit a high of 41.8 degrees at 5pm and was over 40 from 2pm as players and fans sweltered at Melbourne Park, with the heat expected to continue until the end of the week.

"It's inhumane and I don't think it's fair to anybody when you see players pulling out of matches and passing out," Dancevic said.

"It's hazardous to be out there, it's dangerous.

"Until somebody dies they're going to keep playing playing matches in this heat ... and personally I don't think it's fair."

Dancevic said he questioned organisers about the heat policy before his match but was told it wasn't an issue.

"It's not only the heat you're battling with the air temperature, you're battling the heat coming from the court and also the sun so you've got heat coming from all sides.

Defending women's champion Victoria Azarenka described the conditions as like "dancing in a frying pan" .

Former women's world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki said when she put her water bottle down on court, the bottom started melting.

"It feels like I was sweating in a sauna or something," Wozniacki said.

China's Peng Shuai received a code violation after she vomited and cramped badly on court, blaming the heat for her three set loss.

"I couldn't run, I couldn't serve so it was impossible for me to play," she said.

Daniel Gimeno-Traver helped a ball kid to his chair after he collapsed during the Spaniard's four-set loss to Milos Raonic while the St John Ambulance were kept busy treating fans for heat stress.

In 2009, the hottest edition on record with an average daily temperature of 34.7 degrees, reigning champion Novak Djokovic pulled out of his quarter-final with Andy Roddick, citing heat exhaustion.

Officials have played down any health risks, pointing out that no player has ever died from dehydration on a tennis court.

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Frank Dancevic
OVERHEATING: Frank Dancevic receives medical attention.

Reuters