Thursday, 17 June, 2021


Australian Open organisers confronted by new challenges

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews said his government had not even signed off on the Jan 18-31 Australian Open Victoria premier confident Australian Open will proceed despite 'incredibly complex' negotiations
Noah Ferguson | 21 November, 2020, 03:58

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews expects the 2021 Australian Open to be held in a "bubble" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian Open plans are similar to the buildup for the U.S. Open, the first of the tennis majors held after the global sports shutdown, when the Cincinnati tournament was moved to NY ahead of the Grand Slam.

The men's ATP Tour told players on Tuesday that the start of the 2021 season remained up in the air due to "challenges" in Australia, which is effectively closed to global arrivals due to COVID-19 protocols.

"They were done with the season in Paris and then potentially having no tournaments or official matches before the Australian Open, before a grand slam, is a huge thing". "I just want to make the point this is incredibly complex.

Horacio and I will have to quarantine there, but at least we can train during confinement", Marcel Granollers said in London.

On Monday, Tennis Australia announced all lead-up events to the Australian Open would be played in Melbourne, instead of across most of the country's capital cities.

"In discussions with Tennis Australia over the past 24 hours, we have been informed there are some new challenges around the previously planned arrival dates for players and team members", the ATP said in a note to players.

"We understand there is uncertainty about the start of the 2021 season, and we are working as hard as possible to deliver the best possible calendar of events", the ATP added.

The Tennis Australia decision to move all events, including the ATP Cup, to Victoria was aimed at avoiding the potential for players being stranded interstate in the event of sudden domestic border closures.

World number one Novak Djokovic has called on authorities to allow players to compete before the Australian Open while undertaking their mandatory quarantine period.

"If we can't even practise for 14 days and we have to go out to play the Australian Open, it's a lottery", the German said.

"As far as I know so far, the Australian Open will happen whether it's in the current week or the week later".

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Andrews said there was still work to be done with organisers, but he is confident the tournament at Melbourne Park will go ahead.

On the court, Alexander Zverev maintained his chances of qualifying for the semi-finals as he overcame Diego Schwartzman by a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 margin. "I mean, you can basically flip a coin who wins".

On Wednesday, Victoria recorded its 19th straight day with no coronavirus cases.

"But I think it's quite risky for the players with no preparation I think to go there and compete right away".

'You will be able to have at least a tournament or two prior to the Australian Open, which for majority of the players is important.

The first Grand Slam of the year, which is scheduled to begin on January 18, has been thrown into chaos after it emerged this week that the Victorian Government would not grant players and their entourages access into Melbourne until January at the earliest.

"I'm planning to play Australian Open for sure", he said.

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