Beijing - Rafael Nadal insisted he'd seen worse pollution in Beijing despite hazardous levels of smog during a busy day's play at the China Open on Tuesday.
When asked about the filthy air, the Spaniard inadvertently coughed just before giving his answer, prompting laughs among assembled journalists. "It was because of that," Nadal joked.
"No, nothing new for us. I've played here a lot of times. Was very humid today. I see the pollution this year better than other years," he said, adding "seriously, no" when more guffaws broke out.
"Two days ago was a very beautiful day, blue sky," added Nadal. "It's true that during the afternoon, seems like the pollution goes down a little bit more. But in the morning was not bad at all."
Some fans wore protective facemasks as pollution soared into "hazardous" territory by early evening, swathing Beijing's National Tennis Centre in a musty haze.
However, poor air quality is nothing new in the Chinese capital.
"The pollution, I think we're used to it when we play here," shrugged Caroline Wozniacki. "The good thing is that it's a little colder here than it was (at last week's Wuhan Open).
"You know, we just play. We just play. It's the same for both players. It's a big city, so that's what you can expect."