Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have come in for stinging criticism from Canada’s Brayden Schnur for “thinking about their legacy” and “not thinking about the sport itself”.
Schnur’s scolding comes after smoke from the Australian bushfires started to take its toll with those competing in Australian Open qualifying bearing the brunt of it.
On Tuesday Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic was forced to forfeit her first-round qualifying match after a coughing fit.
“It’s not healthy for us. I was surprised, I thought we would not be playing today but we don’t have much choice,” she said.
Eugenie Bouchard from Canada was also affected saying “I definitely started to feeling unwell and I had to call the trainer because it was tough to breathe”.
And Schnur has taken aim at two of the world’s best players in Federer and Nadal.
“It’s got to come from the top guys – Roger and Rafa are a little bit selfish in thinking about themselves and their careers,” he told AAP.
“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 world No 103 was in qualifying action on Wednesday and beat Austrian Sebastian Ofner in three sets in a match that lasted over two hours.
“You feel super dryness in your throat,” he said. “That’s 100 per cent not normal and players who have asthma are at a huge disadvantage right now,” he said.
Several players competing in qualifying have slammed organisers for not looking after the best interests of the lower-ranked players.
“This is why the players need to unite as one and make a decision for themselves because it’s not healthy to play in,” Schnur added.
“You don’t see the best soccer players in the world or the best golfers – if there’s something wrong they postpone the game and in Melbourne they’re just trying to shove us on the court because we’re qualifiers.”
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