Australian Open rocked by more chaos as organisers left scrambling

Players and fans have been left frustrated at the weather in Melbourne.

Rain dampens the Australian Open (pictured left) and (pictured right) Rafa Nadal during practice.
The Australian Open continues to be hit with wet and wild weather, which has sparked a backlog of scheduling and prompted Rafa Nadal (pictured right) to move inside for practice. (Images: Tumcarayol/@Tanujlakhina)

Melbourne Park continues to be dampened with wet and wild weather as Australian Open officials scramble to schedule a backlog of games on Day 3. Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis, Max Purcell and Aleksandar Vukic were among the players who will have to finish their respective matches on Wednesday after rain saw play suspended late on Tuesday night.

As of Tuesday night, 10 matches had been cancelled and another 12 postponed at varying stages of the Australian Open. The drama surrounding scheduling saw a number of players unaware of what time they were playing when they were going to bed on Tuesday night.

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To make matters worse on Wednesday, play on all outside courts was suspended until at least 2pm due to rain in Melbourne. Only three matches started on time on Wednesday, one involving World No.1 Iga Swiatek on Rod Laver Arena.

Rafa Nadal was expected to warm-up on the outside courts for his 2pm match against American Mackenzie McDonald. But the 22-time grand slam champion was moved to an inside training arena.

WTA star Kirsten Flipkens was one player to point out that players could find it hard to sleep not knowing when her match was scheduled. While unaffected by the rain delay herself, she felt most platers would lose sleep over the rescheduling.

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Tennis reporter Jose Morgado agreed with her sentiment and said tennis is a special sport where you can go to sleep unaware of when you will start play the next day.

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Australian Open's wild weather wreaks havoc

The extreme heat policy was enacted for the best part of three hours on a scorching day two of the Australian Open, with action suspended on the outside courts at Melbourne Park on a day when the temperature peaked at 37C. Action continued throughout the break with the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena, John Cain Arena and Margaret Court Arena, while play eventually resumed on all courts shortly after 1700 (AEDT).

The delay impacted Aussie young gun Alexei Popyrin on Tuesday, despite surging into the second round of the Australian Open. His match finished after 2am as Popyrin came back from the brink to beat Taiwanese player Chun-Hsin Tseng 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.

Fans take cover as rain falls at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.
Fans take cover as rain falls at Melbourne Park on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old's match finished at 2.02am on Wednesday morning after a number of delays wreaked havoc on the event. Popyrin battled back from two sets to one down and played through several interruptions before finally winning after nearly four and a half hours.

“I’m exhausted. That was a physical battle and a mental battle too,” Popyrin said afterwards. “I’ve never played a match this late. I’ve never played a match this long.”

One of the most hotly-anticipated match-ups on Wednesday will be 2021 US Open champion Emma Radacanu's night-time clash with fellow young gun Coco Gauff.

with AAP

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