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Canberra's smog has a silver lining for those of us stuck indoors

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The blissful summer normality of the Australian Open tennis has been especially welcome during this otherwise tragically abnormal summer.

Smoke from the bushfire in Namadgi National Park on Wednesday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

It has been somehow psychologically helpful to have some regular things, like the Open's fixed and dependable fortnight staged yet again at the same Melbourne Park in dear, permanent Melbourne, at this time of shocks, surprises and unfamiliar dreads. There is much discussion of our beloved Australia becoming "uninhabitable". In such a context, the normalcy of the Australian Open fortnight feels somehow soothing.

Soothed, but thrilled, I've watched rather more than usual of this Open on TV because Canberra's famously worst-in-the-world air (officially "very poor" and "unhealthy for sensitive groups" as I write this) has kept indoors so many of us who would otherwise be outdoors actually playing tennis and engaging in other lung-testing activities. Now that I am 74 (only another 10 years and I will be eligible to contribute to The Canberra Times' letters page!) I suddenly belong to the "sensitive group" of the elderly. More of this, this summer's forced indoorsiness, later in the column.

Readers, if you love your tennis and are having an enthralled Open fortnight, what, if anything, would you change about tennis to improve it?

As ever I would do something to abolish the "ace" from men's tennis. A........

© Canberra Times