Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupovic was forced to abandon her Australian Open qualifying match in Melbourne, Australia, after she broke into a coughing fit caused by poor air quality in the city.
Massive bushfires across the state of Victoria have created huge plumes of smoke that have blanketed Melbourne for weeks. On Tuesday, the air quality in parts of Melbourne reached hazardous levels, and people were urged to stay indoors.
The smoke was so bad that the Australian Open qualifying matches were delayed on Tuesday afternoon due to dangerous air. However, they resumed shortly after.
During her match against Swiss player Stefanie Vogele, 28-year-old Jakupovic was forced to abandon the game after she fell to her knees due to an apparent coughing fit. She was escorted from the court and the game was called off.
Video of the incident was captured by ESPN Australia and New Zealand:
—ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) January 14, 2020
Former World Number one, Maria Sharapova, also had her game against Germany’s Laura Siegemund called off due to weather.
Bushfires in Australia are common during the hotter spring and summer months, though scientists have said Australia’s fire season is beginning earlier and becoming more extreme as a result of climate change.
Officials have said this bushfire season is likely to be the worst on record, as millions of acres of land have already been razed. At least 28 people have been killed since the season started in September, and over 1 billion animals are estimated to have died.