Air quality 'seems totally fine' on Day 1 at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia -- For all of the concerns about air quality at the Australian Open, it turned out the biggest issue related to playing conditions on Day 1 was heavy rain -- which, hopefully, will also help tamp down the destructive wildfires burning in parts of the country.

The three main arenas at Melbourne Park have retractable roofs, allowing play to continue as scheduled. But nine matches were suspended in progress in the afternoon on smaller courts and will resume Tuesday, while 23 others never got started Monday at all.

Some players struggled with breathing during qualifying last week, when the air quality was among the worst in the world because of smoke from fires 100 miles away. On Monday, though, all appeared to be just fine.

"Today, it seemed normal," Serena Williams said after her first-round victory. "Yeah, it seemed pretty good."

Television screens in the locker rooms alerted players to the latest measurements of particles in the air, with a scale from 1 -- the best -- to 5.

"It was a 1 when I walked out there, which feels like glacier, Alaska weather," said Sam Querrey, a Californian who won in straight sets before the showers arrived.

"Air seems totally fine right now," he said.

The player Querrey beat, No. 25 seed Borna Coric, said he was not affected at all by the conditions.

"To be honest, I didn't feel any difference. I can understand some players do feel it, and I respect that. For me," Coric joked, "I was more bothered by my forehand and my serve than with the air quality."