Australian Open will likely be postponed
The Victorian US Secretary of State for Sports shared that the 2021 Australian Open in Melbourne is likely to be postponed for a week or two from its previous start on January 18.
Sports Minister Martin Pakula said negotiations between various levels of government and tennis officials would soon end and this year’s first tennis Grand Slam is expected to take place.
“There is a number of possible options on the table. I’ve seen reports suggesting that the tournament will be postponed for a week or two. I think this is still the most likely,”Pakula said on Wednesday.
“But this is not the only option. As you know, the French Open dragged on for many months, and Wimbledon did not take place at all. I still think it will be a shorter delay rather than a longer one. I don’t want to repeat myself, but these are complicated negotiations.”
Australian Open Tournament Director and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tealey also made a statement last weekend regarding the negotiation of the tournament’s reschedule. He summed up that the final dates will be announced within two weeks. Usually, the Australian Open is held in the last two weeks of January.
At the moment, Victoria has been struck by the next wave of COVID-19. This forced the city of Melbourne to go into long isolation, a night curfew, and restrictions were imposed on travel and other daily activities of residents. Nevertheless, the good news is that there are no more active cases in the state, with the last death from the virus on October 28.
Pakula did not comment on possible measures to quarantine players and their entourage, given that this process could be shortened to one week. Except for those cases when it is necessary to confirm that they will have to be quarantined. Thus, now all people arriving in Australia must sit in 14-day quarantine in hotels or apartments.
He also noted that quarantine requirements would ultimately be agreed with the health authorities (authorities). And the question of whether they are acceptable or not will depend on the PCA and the WTA.
Currently, officials have conducted approximately 10,000 coronavirus tests before and during the successful US Open in New York in September. What’s more, Frenchman Benoit Peer was the only player to test positive for COVID-19.
Pakula said in an interview that a stringent testing regime would be applied to players both before they leave the port from which they have arrived and upon arrival.
Tennis Australia announced last week that all tournaments generally held in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide will be relocated to Victoria (USA) to avoid any conflicts with some border restrictions within Australia. Although there have been several doubts about the preparatory arrangements after Victorian Prime Minister Dan Andrews said negotiations on these tournaments and player quarantines were far from over.