Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have made a joint donation of 250,000 Australian dollars to the bushfire relief fund.

World number one Nadal announced the decision while taking part in the star-studded Rally4Relief event, which also included the likes of Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.

"Talking with Roger we decided to give 250,000 Australian dollars to the fire relief together," Nadal said when he was addressing the crowd.

"Hopefully that keeps inspiring the people to support this terrible disaster we are going through and helps to recover all the things that we need."

Players have announced a range of ways to support the bushfire relief efforts ever since Nick Kyrgios declared he would pay $200 for every ace he hits during the Australian summer, as well as calling on Tennis Australia to organise Wednesday's event.

Nadal, Federer and the other players involved took part in a series of matches and challenges while wearing a microphone to entertain the Melbourne crowd.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Coco Gauff and Petra Kvitova all took part.

Williams donated all of her Auckland Open winner's earnings and each of the dresses she had worn during the tournament after her victory in New Zealand last week, while Djokovic has also made a contribution.

The event came after Australian Open organisers imposed a two-hour delay on the start of qualifying matches due to the "very poor" air quality.

Bushfires across Australia have resulted in the deaths of at least 28 people, while an estimated 10 million hectares of land has been burned since July 1.

The Rally4Relief helped the overall fund reach just under $5million

Federer said: "Incredible number, so much needed, hope it keeps going. The Australian Open is only just around the corner now and hopefully much more money will come together. This was definitely an incredible kick off.

"This country all comes together for other people and that is a true inspiration for other countries around the world who are watching this now."

Australian Open organisers imposed a two-hour delay on the start of qualifying matches on Wednesday due to the "very poor" air quality from the ongoing bushfires in the country.

Hazardous conditions put back the first qualifying matches on Tuesday, with Dalila Jakupovic falling to her knees and experiencing breathing difficulties that forced the Slovenian to retire from her meeting with Stefanie Voegele.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria said the "very poor" conditions were forecast to improve with the chance of a storm.

Play was consequently set to begin at 13:00 local time (02:00 GMT).

"Practice has been suspended until 11am this morning due to air quality concerns, and play won’t start before 1pm," read a statement from Tennis Australia. 

"Conditions at Melbourne Park are being constantly monitored and further decisions will be made using the onsite data and in close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria. 

"The on-site data and measurements early this morning were similar to yesterday, when practice and play were suspended and delayed. Conditions yesterday were forecast to improve throughout the day, which is what occurred. 

"Play and practice at tournaments in Traralgon and Bendigo, along with a junior event at Royal Park in Melbourne have also been suspended."

Bushfires across Australia have resulted in the deaths of at least 28 people, while an estimated 10 million hectares of land has been burned since July 1.

Robert Farah, the world's number one ranked male doubles player, tested positive for a banned substance in October.

A winner of Wimbledon and the US Open alongside Colombian compatriot Juan Sebastian Cabal in 2019, Farah and the ITF confirmed the positive out-of-competition test on Tuesday.

Farah had already pulled out of the Australian Open, citing "personal reasons".

"The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme can confirm that Robert Farah provided an Out-of-Competition sample on 17 October 2019, which returned a positive finding for Boldenone," a tweet from the ITF's media account read. 

"This case will follow the procedures set out in Article 8 of the TADP."

Farah blamed the positive sample on contaminated meat. Boldenone is a steroid banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), but it is frequently used by Colombian farmers to boost growth in cows.

"I'm sure that's what generated the result from the test in question," Farah said in a statement released on his social media accounts.

"I'm going through one of the saddest moments of my life and, without a doubt, the saddest of my sporting career.

"With my team and a group of advisers we're looking into the steps to take in a process in which we hope to show that I've never used any products that violate fair play and ethics."

News of Farah's positive test comes after the ITF revealed Nicolas Jarry, the world number 78 in singles, failed a test at the Davis Cup in November, his sample containing traces of Ligandrol and Stanozolol.

Nicolas Jarry says there is "no doubt" he is innocent after the world number 78 was provisionally suspended for an anti-doping violation.

The International Tennis Federation on Tuesday announced the 24-year-old Chilean tested positive for non-specified substances Ligandrol metabolite and Stanozolol metabolite.

Jarry was charged as a result of a urine sample which was taken during the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid last November, but he denies any wrongdoing.

"Last November, while I was playing [in the] Davis Cup for Chile, I underwent two urine tests," Jarry posted on Instagram.

"The first one was clean but the second one detected two banned substances. The levels of these substances are so incredibly low that they are equivalent to trillionths of a gram, levels so low that neither substance could have provided me any performance-enhancing benefit.

"I would like to let you know that I have never deliberately or intentionally taken any banned substance in my career as a tennis player, in fact I am completely opposed to doping.

"Therefore, I dedicate these next days and weeks fully to determine where these substances came from so my legal team and I can clarify the situation completely.

"This has caught me and my loved ones by absolute surprise and what I would like to do beyond proving my innocence (no doubt about that) is to in future use what is happening to me as an example for all young athletes, so that cases like this never happen again.

"I say this because it strongly looks like a cross-contamination cause [from] the use of multi-vitamins made in Brazil, which my doctor recommended I take since they were guaranteed to be free from banned substances.

"My legal team and I will be working very strongly to prove my innocence and for this I have offered my full cooperation to the International Tennis Federation (ITF)."

Seventh seed Jan-Lennard Struff moved safely through to the last 16 of the Adelaide International, while Dan Evans reached the quarter-finals.

Struff was the only seed in action on Tuesday at the first edition of the tournament and he defeated lucky loser Salvatore Caruso 6-4 6-2.

Like Struff, Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas won his first-round match, as did qualifier Tommy Paul and wildcard Alex Bolt.

Evans, meanwhile, is the first man into the last eight after he saw off Alexander Bublik 7-5 6-2.

Inclement weather heavily affected proceedings at the Auckland Open, though there was still time for John Millman to reach the last 16 with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 win over qualifier Michael Mmoh.

Millman will play Karen Khachanov in round two, with Vasek Pospisil – a winner over Joao Sousa – set to face rising star Denis Shapovalov in an all-Canadian encounter.

Kyle Edmund defeated wildcard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 4-6 6-3 in a back-and-forth contest.

Ash Barty escaped a scare against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to secure a first singles win of the year and Simona Halep also reached the quarter-finals of the Adelaide International.

Home hope Barty benefited from a bye into the second round, but no one could accuse her opponent of allowing her an easy stroll into the last eight, the world number one eventually coming out on top 4-6 6-3 7-5 after two hours and nine minutes on court.

The French Open champion was beaten by Jennifer Brady in her opening singles contest of 2020 at the Brisbane International last week and was in danger of falling at the first hurdle again on Tuesday.

Barty raised her game after losing the first set before a thrilling decider swung back and forth with a total of five breaks of serve, including when the top seed was twice serving for the match at 5-2 and 5-4. 

But the Australian bounced straight back with a break of her own to move 6-5 in front and then served it out at the third attempt to set up a meeting with either eighth seed Marketa Vondrousova or Arina Rodionova, the Australian qualifier who surprisingly saw off Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-2 in the first round.

Joining Barty in the quarters is Wimbledon champion Halep, who dealt with another Australian in the form of wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 7-5 in her first singles contest of the season.

The second seed from Romania, who struck 19 winners and made only 11 unforced errors, will now face Aryna Sabalenka or Bernarda Pera in the final eight after they defeated Su-wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova, respectively.

Maria Sakkari, Donna Vekic and Julia Goerges came through first-round ties.

Top seed Elise Mertens eased into round two of the Hobart International, thrashing Christina McHale 6-1 6-1, and Garbine Muguruza advanced with a 6-1 7-5 defeat of Wang Yafan. 

Caroline Garcia, the eighth seed, was send packing by Australian outsider Lizette Cabrera on a day which also saw Elena Rybakina, CiCi Bellis, Alize Cornet, Ons Jabeur and Zhang Shuai go through.

A tennis player who abandoned her Australian Open qualifying match amid the bushfire smoke in Melbourne feared she would collapse on the court.

Dalila Jakupovic was a set to the good against Stefanie Vogele when the Slovenian suffered a coughing fit, eventually dropping to her knees and requiring assistance.

She was taken off the court and, speaking after the match was called off, the world number 180 expressed her surprise that it even went ahead, given the poor air quality.

"I was really scared that I would collapse," she said. "That's why I went onto the floor because I couldn't walk anymore.

"I don't have asthma and never had breathing problems. I actually like heat.

"The physio came again and I thought it would be better. But the points were a bit longer and I just couldn't breathe anymore and I just fell on the floor.

"It's not healthy for us. I was surprised, I thought we would not be playing but we don't have much choice."

Across the city at the Kooyong Stadium, former world number one Maria Sharapova's match against Laura Siegemund was called to a halt for the same reason.

The Russian was trailing 7-6 (7-4) 5-5 in the Kooyong Classic clash when play was suspended and Sharapova said officials had "made the right call".

Bushfires have ravaged Australia in recent months and led to concerns over the air quality at the year's first grand slam, which begins on Monday. 

Elina Svitolina, a quarter-finalist in Melbourne in each of the past two years, expressed her frustration at the perceived lack of action over the issue.

She tweeted: "Why do we need to wait for something bad to happen to [take] action?".

The tweet was accompanied by a graphic which showed the air quality to be "very unhealthy".

Maria Sharapova revealed she felt a "cough coming" before her match against Laura Siegemund at the Kooyong Classic was suspended.

Smoke blanketed Melbourne on Tuesday and play at the Australian Open was delayed, with readings showing the air quality in Victoria's capital as "very poor".

As players struggled with the conditions at Melbourne Park, Sharapova also battled at nearby Kooyong before her match against Siegemund was stopped.

The Russian former world number one, who was trailing 7-6 (7-4) 5-5, said organisers made the right decision.

"We played over two hours and I actually started feeling a little bit of a cough coming up to the end of the second set," Sharapova told SBS.

"But I've been sick for a few weeks so I thought it was something to do with that.

"When I heard Laura speak to the umpire and said she was struggling with it as well I was like, 'Okay, thankfully I'm not the only one' and then the umpire came down and said let's just play one more game.

"We were out there for over two hours so I think from a health standpoint it was the right call from the officials."

Bushfires have ravaged Australia in recent months and led to concerns over the air quality at the year's first grand slam.

Qualifying, and practice, were postponed early on Tuesday before play resumed, although Dalila Jakupovic retired from her match after having difficulties breathing.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley insisted players would not be put in danger amid air quality concerns in Melbourne.

Play was delayed on the opening day of qualifying on Tuesday due to poor air quality caused by bushfires in Australia.

While organisers faced criticism for allowing play to begin, Tiley said players would not be put at risk.

"We reiterated with the players that we're making a decision based on advice, based on expert advice," he told a news conference.

"We're not going to put them in harm's way or make any decision that's going to negatively impact their health and wellbeing.

"We have a track record of that when it comes to extreme heat. I think we're one of the few major events that has to manage extreme heat like we do.

"But this is a new experience for all of us, how we manage air quality and therefore we've got to rely on those experts that advise us on how best to continue."

Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic retired during her qualifier against Stefanie Voegele when leading 6-4 5-6, with reports suggesting she was struggling with her breathing.

Australian Open qualifying was delayed on Tuesday due to poor air quality as smoke from bushfires in Australia impacted Melbourne.

Play was due to get underway at 10:00 local time (23:00 GMT), but thick smoke blanketed Melbourne, leading to it being pushed back by an hour.

Bushfires have ravaged Australia in recent months and there have been concerns over player and spectator welfare at the year's first grand slam, with the main draw beginning on Monday.

The poor air quality has already impacted the event, with the Australian Open announcing practice had also been suspended during the morning on Tuesday.

"Practice was temporarily suspended this morning due to poor air quality," a statement read.

"Qualifying matches will begin at 11am. Conditions onsite are improving and are being constantly monitored.

"Further decisions will be made using onsite data and in close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria.

"As always the health and safety of our players, our staff and our fans is our priority."

Air quality in Melbourne has been in the 'hazardous' and 'very poor' range since midnight local time (13:00 GMT) in readings provided by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

As bushfires continue to rage in Australia, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and three grand slams have pledged a combined $400,000 (579,542 Australian dollars) to the relief effort.

The fires have ravaged large swathes of land, killing at least 28 people and millions of animals in the country where the first slam of the year begins next week.

Various fundraising initiatives have been launched and now the ITF has joined with Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open to boost the cash total.

"The worldwide tennis community has come together in support of all those affected by the bushfires across many parts of Australia," said ITF president David Haggerty.

"This donation will support the Red Cross teams who are working hard on the ground providing essential emergency assistance including relief centres, aid and practical support for victims, evacuated families and those who have lost their homes.

"We would like to commend all members of the tennis community who are currently raising funds and awareness."

Among the other activities taking place is the AO Rally for Relief at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday January 15, which will see Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Roger Federer take part.

Benoit Paire held off a fighting challenge from rising star Jannik Sinner to move into the second round of the Auckland Open, while top seed Alex de Minaur withdrew from the Adelaide International.

At the first edition of the ATP tournament in Adelaide, sixth seed Cristian Garin fell to Lloyd Harris, the South African qualifier winning 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-4.

Jeremy Chardy defeated fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon in straight sets, with Dan Evans, Sam Querrey and home hope James Duckworth the other players to progress.

The action came as top seed De Minaur pulled out of the event after aggravating an abdominal injury while representing Australia at the ATP Cup.

"I have seen the physios, I have seen the doctors and I will be continuing to do that for the whole of the week and hopefully I will be ready to play in Melbourne," De Minaur said ahead of the Australian Open.

In Auckland, Italian Sinner – winner of the Next Generation ATP Finals in November – took number five seed Paire to a final set but the Frenchman eventually prevailed 6-4 2-6 6-4 in one hour and 55 minutes.

Defending champion Tennys Sandgren started his campaign with a routine 6-4 6-3 triumph over wildcard Michael Venus.

But last year's beaten finalist Cameron Norrie was knocked out in straight sets by qualifier Thiago Monteiro, with American Frances Tiafoe also being eliminated at the hands of qualifier Mikael Ymer.

Hubert Hurkacz and Ugo Humbert saw off Lorenzo Sonego and Casper Ruud respectively in Monday's other matches.

Home hope Ajla Tomljanovic overcame a self-confessed lack of focus to beat Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 and secure a second-round clash with Adelaide International second seed Simona Halep.

Tomljanovic fell 3-0 behind before battling back to take the first set to a tie-break, where she held her nerve before rounding out the win in more convincing fashion in the second.

"Not the greatest start," said Tomljanovic. "I don't even think it was nerves. I wasn't too focused at the start.

"With her, you have to be really sharp, disciplined, but still aggressive. It took me a little bit to find the balance.

"But I think once I got going, it was a battle. I mean, she's always tough. She never gives up. She runs down every ball, really makes you win it. This is a quality win for me."

Another Australian in the draw is top seed Ashleigh Barty, who got a first-round bye and will now face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova following the Russian's 6-2 6-4 win over Anett Kontaveit.

Fourth seed Belinda Bencic beat Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-4, while Sofia Kenin defeated Viktorija Golubic 6-0 6-4.

Other first-round results saw former world number one Angelique Kerber down Wang Qiang 6-1 6-3, Dayana Yastremska beat Timea Babos 7-5 6-3, and American Danielle Rose Collins dump out Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 6-2.

At the Hobart International, seventh seed Rebecca Peterson retired hurt against Fiona Ferro, but fellow seeds Magda Linette and Veronika Kudermetova progressed without cause for concern.

Novak Djokovic believes there is no clear favourite for the men's singles at the Australian Open and says the 'big three' will be challenged at the opening slam of the year.

The last 12 majors have been shared between Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, with Stan Wawrinka the last man other than the trio to win a slam at the 2016 US Open.

Djokovic impressed during the inaugural ATP Cup last week, scoring wins over Nadal, Daniil Medvedev and Kevin Anderson en route to helping Serbia to glory.

The 16-time slam winner accepts the usual suspects will be considered favourites in Melbourne, but tipped the likes of Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem to challenge.

"I think it's really open, the Australian Open or any other slam," Djokovic told reporters.

"I don't think there are really clear favourites. You have obviously Federer, Nadal, myself because of the experience and everything and the rankings that we get to be probably named the top three favourites.

"But then you have Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem that are really showing some amazing tennis.

"They showed that they matured on the big stage, that they can challenge the best players in the world and win against them.

"So, everybody keeps on talking about a NextGen player winning a slam. It seems like it's getting closer. Hopefully not this year. We'll see."

While Djokovic and Nadal have geared up for the Australian Open by playing the ATP Cup, helping Serbia and Spain to the final respectively, Federer opted to stay home and train in his native Switzerland.

Federer insists he has no fitness concerns despite not playing a competitive match since November.

"I've trained long and hard in the off-season and I didn't have any setbacks, which is crucial," Federer said.

On the continued success he, Djokovic and Nadal have enjoyed, Federer added: "I'm aware that at 38 I shouldn't be the favourite, it should be someone probably in their 20s, but the three of us have been able to stay as the favourites, which is great for us.

"Both guys are already showing great signs. I was watching a little bit of their ATP Cup match and thought that was a great match.

"Both guys, injury free, are always tough to beat."

Rafael Nadal feels there needs to be an agreement between the ITF and the ATP to create a single "world cup" as opposed to the separate Davis Cup and ATP Cup.

ATP world number one Nadal starred in Spain's triumph at the Davis Cup - organised by the ITF - in November, but he and his country were on the losing side at the inaugural ATP Cup on Sunday, going down to Novak Djokovic's Serbia.

The Spaniard enjoyed the new tournament but suggested the two competitions were a source of confusion.

"[The ATP Cup] is a long competition. It's a tough way to start the season," Nadal said. "I don't know. I think it's a great competition but, at the same time, I can't change my mind.

"Two world cups in [just over] one month is not real. It's not possible. So, we need to find a way to fix it and we need to find a way to make a big deal with ITF and ATP to create a big world team cup competition, not two world cups in one month.

"I think that's confusing for the spectators. We need to be clear in our sport.

"And for the health of our sport and the benefit of our sport, in my opinion, it is mandatory that we fix it.

"I think it is a great competition. I am excited to be part of it, excited to represent my country.

"I enjoyed sharing the week with my friends on the team. The organisation has been fantastic, honestly, everything as good as possible. Just, in my mind, we need to create one thing and not two."

Meanwhile, Nadal was unhappy with some sections of the crowd in Sydney, where a partisan Serbian contingent roared on rival Djokovic, who beat the world number one 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in the second singles rubber, before joining forces with Viktor Troicki to beat Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-4 in the doubles decider.

"Honestly, the crowd was fantastic every single day," Nadal continued. "But, sometimes, people from some countries, they probably don't understand how tennis is.

"They think it is more like football, but the atmosphere in tennis is different. The respect for the players should be there. At some point, the respect - from a small part of the crowd - was not there."

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