Canberra since early December 2019 has mostly been mostly shrouded in a cloud of smoke which drifts in from the bushfires burning to the east and south.
The air quality measurements have recently been the worst out of cities around the world. With adverse conditions forecast on Saturday it was decided to send the APIS Canberra International to Bendigo.
The Canberra tournament was set to be the most exciting in the short history of the tournament. The tournament was boosted to an ATP Challenger 125 event with $162,480 in total prize money and eight players in the men’s top-100 were set to launch their Australian Open preparations in Canberra
Tennis ACT CEO Kim Kachel explained the decision was made after much consideration and consultation with the local authorities.
“The health of players, fans, volunteers, staff and stakeholders is our biggest priority at all times,” Kachel said.
“Unfortunately, the best advice from the weather and fire experts is that the conditions over the next few days mean it is unlikely there would be any play. With conditions too unpredictable the decision was made to relocate at the earliest available opportunity.
“We want to thank the team at the Bendigo Tennis Association for helping us stage this event.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said the unprecedented decision to relocate the tournament was a result of acting on the most up-to-date and accurate information available.
“We have been closely monitoring the bushfire situation in the region and particularly NSW, SA and Victoria and are receiving daily updates from the local experts and authorities,” Tiley said.
“We know how important the tournament is for players preparing to play at the Australian Open and the decision to move the tournament from Canberra to Bendigo has been made to ensure they can still compete.
“We will continue to monitor the situation across the country and ensure we have the most accurate information to make any decisions about play.
“Our thoughts are with all those communities affected by the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and further announcements regarding fundraising opportunities will be made shortly.”