Players treated worse than animals: Qualifier

British tennis player Liam Broady has accused Australian Open officials of treating qualifiers worse than animals as calls grow among players to form a union.

Broady lost in the first round of qualifying, playing his match in a blanket of smoke at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, and said he struggled to breathe in the conditions.

Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic had to quit her qualifying match that day after a coughing fit, while Australia’s Bernard Tomic also sought medical treatment.

World No.234 Broady took to Twitter on Thursday, saying: “The more I think about the conditions we played in a few days ago the more it boils my blood.

“We can’t let this slide. The email we received yesterday from the ATP and AO was a slap in the face, conditions were ‘playable’. Were they healthy?

“Citizens of Melbourne were warned to keep their animals indoors the day I played qualifying, and yet were were expected to go outside for high intensity physical competition?

“What do we have to do to create a players union? Where is the protection for players, both male and female? When multiple players need asthma spray on court and they don’t even have asthma? When a player collapses and has to retire due to respiratory issues?

“On tour we let so many things go that aren’t right but at some point we have to make a stand. ALL players need protection, not just a select few.”

Broady’s tweet was supported by Germany’s Dustin Brown, who also needed medical treatment during his first-round loss played on Wednesday.

” ‘I have a virus coming on’ I was told by the doctor on court,” Brown tweeted.

“In 35 years it’s the first time I had to use an asthma spray to help me breathe better #wellsaidLiam.”

Former world No.25 Canadian Vasek Pospisil said the situation was “absurd” and it was “time for a players union”.

French player Alize Cornet, a former world No.11, also agreed: “We have to stick together and stop this nonsense #players union.”

Their comments came after qualifying third seed Canadian Brayden Schnur labelled Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal “selfish” for not speaking out on behalf of lesser-known players.

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