'Feet on fire' as 39 deg C heat scorches Australian Open

Gael Monfils said he was "dying" on court, Caroline Garcia's feet were burning and Dominic Thiem couldn't wait to get an ice bath as Melbourne's searing summer heat played havoc at the Australian Open yesterday.

The opening Grand Slam of the year routinely challenges players and fans with its fickle weather - it can be 20 deg C one day and 40 deg C the next.

The heat has been gradually building this week, hitting 39 deg C yesterday, with even worse forecast for today.

Some players coped better than others in such conditions, with third seed Garbine Muguruza among the casualties.

"I think the surface of the court, I don't know how much heat, it's terrible, very, very hot, and it's easy to get blisters and red," she said.

"I had a tougher match under the heat in previous years at the Australian Open, but today was - it was hot, but I don't think was the hottest day."

There were concerns for Monfils' health in his mid-afternoon match against Novak Djokovic, with the Frenchman, one of the fittest players on tour, looking dazed in the second set.

"I got super dizzy, I think I had a small heatstroke for 40 minutes," he said after losing to Djokovic, who described the conditions as "brutal".

Eighth seed Garcia also suffered during her three-setter against Marketa Vondrousova. She said: "My feet are burning."

Organisers will stop play on the outside courts and shut the three main courts' roofs when the mercury exceeds 40 deg C and the wet bulb globe temperature index hits 32.5 deg C.

After a five-setter against Denis Kudla, all fifth seed Dominic Thiem said was: "I'm off to have an ice bath." - AFP