Australian Open 2019 sunset

Chaotic scenes in Melbourne as city – and Australian Open – covered in mud due to bushfire-effected rain

There were chaotic – and surely unprecedented – scenes at the Australian Open on Thursday, when play had to be delayed due to it raining mud from the skies above Melbourne.

The weather in Australian has played havoc with the scheduling for the first Grand Slam of the year, with nearby bushfires prompting a number of challenges, largely down to air quality concerns.

However, it went to a more biblical level on Thursday, with play having to be delayed on the outer courts due to dirt raining from the skies and muddying the hardcourts at Melbourne Park.

The Australian Open official twitter account confirmed Melbourne Park had been affected early in the morning.

“Due to the rain and dust overnight the outside courts need high pressure cleaning, which is currently underway,” they said.

Meanwhile, ABC weather presenter Nate Byrne attempted to explain the strange phenomenon, saying the dust was picked up by a cold front and dragged down from South Australia and north-west Victoria.

“Rain is always a little bit dirty because at the heart of every single rain drop, and in fact every single particle or bit of water in the cloud, is a tiny little bit of either dust or bacteria or something,” he said.

“Water doesn’t like to condense out of being a gas into a liquid unless it’s on something so it did it on the dust and then as the rain drops fell from this cold front they bumped into more dust on the way down it just got really muddy.”

Play got underway on time on this indoor courts, however, with Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal the headline acts on day four of the competition.

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.