Storm brings relief to Australian Open but cannot stop tempers flaring

• Heat and smoke from bushfires lessened by thunder and rain
• World No103 claims Roger Federer does not care about qualifiers

Like farmers in a drought peering into an unforgiving sky, tennis turned to the heavens – and Roger Federer – to break the iron grip of heat and smoke choking the 2020 Australian Open into near paralysis. And their prayers were answered.

Until late Wednesday afternoon, the tournament was a slam without a dunk, sweating in limbo and hoping all would be well before the curtain goes up on Monday. The tournament, the city, the nation needed a miracle of sorts – and a thunderstorm rolled through town to blow their cares away. There is more on the way, maybe enough to put a smile on this tournament after days of worry and doubt.

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