Hewitt not in favour of closing roof due to heat
Melbourne: It would be unfair on the players competing on the outside courts if top players are handed the comfort of playing under closed roof in extreme hot conditions at the Australian Open, says former world number one Lleyton Hewitt.
Novak Djokovic described the conditions as "brutal" in the first week at the Melbourne Park when the court temperature read 69C during his match against Gael Monfils.
The Frenchman said it was "risky" to play in such conditions even as Roger Federer, who mostly played in the cooler night sessions, played down the heat factor.
Hewitt said the onus was on players to counter the conditions.
"You got to do the hard work in the pre-season to be able to play in conditions like that. This is an outdoor tournament. You have to be acclimatized. To play best of five sets in these conditions is not easy at all," Hewitt, a Mastercard brand ambassador, told a select gathering at the newly-launched Beach Club at Melbourne Park.
"The other thing is, if you close the roof on the centre court, you have to think about poor guy playing on court 23, playing exactly at the same time. If they have to go through those conditions without the roof closed or any comfort to help them, we will be just helping the best players. If they (top players) get through that match, the other guy would not be able to come through physically in the next two days and that will be unfair. Roof should only be closed if it's raining," Hewitt made his point.