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Federer concerned about air quality ahead of Australian Open but backs organisers

Roger Federer admits he's concerned about the air quality in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament - which starts on Monday.

Federer's spoken with organisers about the issue - which has been caused by severe bushfires across the country.

I worry more for everybody else who is in the fire, in the smoke. Also we can stay indoors all day, quickly go out and play, go back in again.

"It’s not like we’re stuck outside at all times. I think we’re going to get through it and it should be fine. It shouldn’t move, no.

“I think we’re all confused,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner added at his press conference ahead of the first Slam of the season.

“Is it super unsafe or is it totally safe to play? The problem on top of it, it was actually quite hot, too ... some players are not used to playing at 35, 33-degree heat, especially if you’ve practised on the indoor season.

“I’m not saying they’re not ready or whatever it is, but it can always hit you. Of course, everything gets put down on it was the smoke. For sure, it can be nothing else. So what can I do? I can go to the office, speak to them.”

Several players complained of breathing difficulties during the qualifying rounds - with one competitor retiring from the competition.

World number one Rafael Nadal says he's also satisfied with how officials are addressing the situation:

"I don't have concerns because I am just one more player. When the issues were there a couple of days ago in qualifying, when I heard the players having issues, asking questions, me like a player, the only thing I can do is go to the tournament director office, ask what's going on, because I have been practising those days, too.

"I really received, for me – that doesn't mean for everyone it should be the same – but for me I received an answer that convinced me. They told me that they have the right specialists here analysing and monitoring every four minutes the air."

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