SPRING Gully Tennis Club could introduce an extreme heat policy for its evening competitions, something that it has not needed before.
In the last two years the club has been forced to cancel competitions because the temperature has lingered above 35 degrees well into the night, club secretary Ardel Shamsullah said.
"I've been on the committee for 15 or 16 years and until the last two we haven't really given the idea of an extreme heat policy any attention because we only run night competitions," he said.
"I've been in Bendigo for 35 years and even on very hot summer days the evenings were reasonably pleasant. They were cooling down quite quickly."
Now everything from Spring Gully's amateur evening matches to the Australian Open needs a rethink, researchers at Monash University say.
Their new report looks at both and warns tennis event organisers of all stripes will have to grapple with more days of extreme heat every summer in the decades to come.
Monthly day and nighttime temperatures are already "very high" six times more often than they were 30 to 60 years ago, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Tennis Australia will have to reconsider its format for the Australian Open in the future or risk athletes suffering potentially life-threatening rises in body temperatures on court, report authors say.
That could include moving the competition's date to either November or March, though that would bring economic, logistical and cultural challenges, authors noted.
It would also throw out a carefully balanced international schedule of tours, authors said.
"If this disruption was considered too great, another possibility would be to extend the overall length of the event by about a week," report authors said.
"At present, games are played right throughout the day, meaning players are out on court when radiant heat is at its strongest."
Extra days would mean less matches scheduled for the hottest part of the day but mean ticketing would have to change, "and the Victorian school holidays currently end immediately after the event", report authors said.
"While neither option is without risk, this is the unfortunate reality of outdoor sports in a changing climate."
The Australian Conservation Foundation commissioned the research and the group's Gavin McFadzean commended Tennis Australia for joining the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
"(We) urge it to raise its voice for strong, meaningful climate action from our government," he said.