MELBOURNE, Dec 1 — The arrangements for next year’s Australian Open are close to being finalised, the tournament director said on Tuesday, following a report it could be cancelled over coronavirus difficulties.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said details of the event, whose January 18 start date has been the subject of intense speculation, should be settled “very soon”.
“We are confident we will be in a position to finalise details for the Australian Open 2021 very soon,” Tiley tweeted.
“Everything will require approval and agreement from the Victorian (state) government before it can be confirmed,” he added.
Victoria’s sports minister last week said he expected the year’s first Grand Slam to be delayed for one or two weeks.
The tournament’s fate appears to hinge on when the state government will allow players to arrive, and whether they’ll be able to train during their mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Tiley had originally wanted players to fly in from mid-December so they could undergo quarantine before playing traditional warm-up events before the Grand Slam.
But state premier Dan Andrews reportedly only wants players to arrive from early January — making it impossible to play the build-up events before a January 18 start.
State officials are cautious over allowing mass arrivals as Melbourne only emerged from a months-long lockdown to eliminate a second wave of Covid-19 in late October.
Tiley said Tennis Australia was in “constant communication” with players about how they can “safely practise and prepare for a Grand Slam tournament under the Victorian government’s proposed quarantine conditions”.
Tiley’s tweet comes after he was quoted by Melbourne’s Herald-Sun as telling a gathering of business leaders that cancelling the Australian Open remained an option.
A report in The Australian newspaper speculated that the ATP Cup, the flagship men’s team event that made its debut in January, would be scrapped in the reshuffle. — AFP