Australian Open 2020: Bushfire smoke could lead to all matches being played indoors

Australian Open officials warn play may be confined to three stadiums with retractable roofs and eight indoor courts, if conditions become hazardous due to the bushfire crisis.

Huge bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria have burnt through more than 25.5 million acres of land, killing 25 people and leaving thousands homeless.

Smoke from the fires has also resulted in hazardous conditions in Sydney, where the final rounds of the inaugural ATP Cup will take place this weekend, and Melbourne, where the Australian Open begins on January 20.

Seven-time Australian Open champion and world No.2 Novak Djokovic said he hoped the crisis would "dissipate" soon, but that an action plan was needed to avoid any impact on player health, if it did not.

"We have three roofed-stadiums and eight indoor courts at Melbourne Park," Australian Open organisers tweeted in response to social media queries.

"In the unlikely case of extreme smoke conditions, the roofs will be closed on the three stadium courts, and play will continue in their air-conditioned and air-filtered environment.

"If smoke infiltrates the three stadium courts, the air-conditioning system will filter it out."

The retractable roofs are usually used to continue play on the three courts when it rains or in extreme heat conditions.

Play on the other 22 outdoor courts are suspended during this time. The indoor courts are usually used as practice facilities.

"The health of players, fans and staff is a priority at all times, and we will continue to make these decisions with that in mind," tournament director Craig Tiley told local media on Monday.

But it was unclear where ground passholders were expected to take cover if matches were suddenly abandoned due to hazardous conditions.

During rain or extreme heat conditions, they can usually find shady areas within the Melbourne Park complex to sit it out - but many of these places are also outdoors.