The hazardous smoke haze hovering over the capital has forced Tennis ACT and ATP officials to relocate the Canberra International to Bendigo.
Tournament officials made the decision to move the men's Challenger 125 and women's World Tennis Tour event interstate on Thursday night as weather conditions continue to deteriorate in Canberra and southern NSW.
The tournament was scheduled start on Monday at the Canberra Tennis Centre in Lyneham, but officials received expert advice that the air quality was unlikely to improve in time to complete the event in the ACT.
Canberra had the worst air quality of any major cities in the world on Wednesday and Thursday, reaching more than 20 times above hazardous levels.
Conditions are set to worsen on Saturday with temperatures expected to reach 42 degrees in the capital.
The Bendigo region has not been affected by smoke and is scheduled to host another Challenger event starting on January 13.
Tennis ACT boss Kim Kachel reasoned the potential impact of the deteriorating conditions would likely prevent any play next week.
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"It was a really tough decision but it was the right decision," Kachel said.
"Our thoughts are very much with the communities that are battling these fires and those that are doing it tough at the moment. We wanted to stress that's a bigger priority than sporting events right now.
"The health of our players, fans, volunteers, staff and stakeholders is our biggest priority at all times.
"The best advice from weather and fire experts is the conditions over the next few days are unpredictable and make it unlikely to play. Based on the unpredictable conditions and some of the potential impacts of what's coming up, the decision was made to relocate the tournament at the earliest opportunity.
"The team at Bendigo Tennis Association can help us stage a hopefully great event."
Eight players in the men's top 100 were set to launch their Australian Open preparations in the capital, including former Canberra Challenger winner Andreas Seppi and world no.57 Ugo Humbert.
The move allows players to continue their preparations for the grand slam with qualifying spots still available.
Tournament officials will offer bus services to players who have already arrived in Canberra, while those still flying into Melbourne have been advised to catch a train to Bendigo. There is only one direct flight from Sydney to Bendigo per day.
"We had a player briefing and meeting [on Friday]," Kachel said.
"They were very appreciative of the information provided and empathetic of the situation.
"They've really been working with us to relocate the event. Their thoughts are with everyone affected as well, they've seen the impact and certainly have an understanding."
Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley said the decision to relocate the tournament ensures all players have an opportunity to compete in the lead up to the Australian Open.
"We have been closely monitoring the bushfire situation in the region and particularly NSW, SA and Victoria and are receiving daily updates from the local experts and authorities," Tiley said.
"We know how important the tournament is for players preparing to play at the Australian Open and the decision to move the tournament from Canberra to Bendigo has been made to ensure they can still compete."
Those who have purchased tickets for the Canberra International will receive a full refund within the next 10 days.
The Canberra International has joined Tennis Australia's fundraising effort 'Aces for Bushfire Relief' and will donate $100 for every aced served at the tournament.
The ATP Cup, Brisbane International, Adelaide International and Hobart International tournaments will also take part in the initiative.
Tennis Australia will host a 'Rally for Relief' exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena on January 15 to raise help raise funds for recovery efforts and those affected by the bushfires.