The Australian Open is going to happen, it’s now a question of when. The biggest tennis event in the Pacific is still in negotiation with its government over the exact quarantine protocols.
Australian health officials require incoming visitors to quarantine 14 days, no exceptions. That’s the rule. And the players and tours are open to that. The problem is the players would like to practice while they are quarantining.
Playing best-of-5 in the heat without having hit a tennis ball for two weeks is a understandably a tough ask.
After weeks of discussion between the tournament and officials, it appears they government has granted the request and players will be allowed to be on the court during the quarantine, that according to an ATP notice to its players as reported by Melbourne’s The Age.
While Tennis Australia has not confirmed the report, if true, it should pave way for the entry of players and allow the schedule to be set.
The Australian Open was slated for January 18, but it won’t start then. It could begin on January 25 or more than likely on February 1 or later. Players still need to book tickets, then allow for a 2-week quarantine. Qualifying is also up in the air as are the lead-up events and the tournaments that follow.
Reports are the ATP Cup and Auckland have already cancelled for 2021. And depending of where the Australian Open ends up, other tournament will be greatly impacted as will the schedule on the whole, which hasn’t been released by either the ATP or the WTA.
Events in Adelaide, Hobart and Sydney plus those in Doha and Pune remain uncertain. And if the Australian Open does begin in February, where would events like Rotterdam and Rio go?
With 2021 approaching quickly, a calendar for the new year is expected in the next week.
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