Australian Open Confirms Feb 8 Start, Announces $100K For First Round Losers
by Staff | December 19th, 2020, 12:41 am

The Australian Open made it official Friday evening in the U.S. by confirming a February 8 start date.

The tournament will hold events in singles, doubles and wheelchairs with qualifying in the middle east and juniors postponed until later in the year.

Players are expected to arrive January 15 to will allow for a mandatory 14-day quarantine during which they will have access to court practice, training and more.

Players making the journey will be rewarded with a purse of $80M AUD. First round losers will receive a Grand Slam opening round record payout of $100K AUD.

Players will also have the luxury of competing and earning more money on-site in lead-up events the week before the season’s first Slam. And the WTA will run a tournament the second week of the Australian for those who lost early.

“This will be an historic Australian Open on so many levels,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.

“For the first time in more than 100 years the Australian Open will start in February and we look forward to offering the players what we believe will be one of their best playing experiences in 2021.

“From the outset, ensuring players have the best possible preparation for the Australian Open, while at all times protecting the precious COVID-free environment that the Victorian community has built through incredible sacrifice and hard work over the past six months, has been paramount.

“It has taken eight months of working alongside government authorities, here in Victoria, nationally and interstate, to give us the opportunity to present an Australian Open that will play a major role in both the economic and psychological reinvigoration and rejuvenation of Melbourne and Victoria.”

The city of Melbourne has also locked up the Australian Open for another 19 years until 2039.

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7 Comments for Australian Open Confirms Feb 8 Start, Announces $100K For First Round Losers

chrisford1 Says:

1. Congrats to Melbourne for locking up holding the AO for another 19 years. Sorry Sydney, Sorry Hong Kong, Sorry Tokyo.
2. 100K AUD means 75K USD. But very good news for “non-star” players. Djokovic, Pospisil, Kevin Anderson,and other members of the Player’s Council have pushed hard for this. Glad it is starting to show results and other tournaments will follow suite.
3. Tournament director and Fed spokesman have stated that Federer will most likely be at the AO, even if he is not 100%. That Fed is now in Dubai, training. Good news for fed fans.
4. Hoping Wog Boy returns to covering this and that happening – and gives us firsthand reports.
5. Djokovic went to 300 weeks as #1 this weekend. Only 2nd player in ATP history to do so. A milestone.
6. It will be interesting to see how the quarantine dynamics work out, not just with players but with members of their entourages. I think a lot of spouses and player’s kids and non-critical entourage people like agents are going to take a pass this year from going to Melbourne. And I am curious what the rules will be if a player or entourage member tests positive.

Django Says:

My 96 year old close family member tested positive for Covid two weeks ago. No symptoms, not even a sniffle.
This person has diabetes, is on three blood pressure meds, cholesterol- lowering meds, etc
There are a lot of false positives out there. Authorities at AO have a lot of power with those swabs. What if they didn’t like someone?😊

chrisford1 Says:

Django – So happy your old relative dodged the bullet! I would encourage them to still get the vaccine when it becomes available in case it was just a false positive…he next step is to have the person’s doctor have an antigen test that will show for certain if it was an asymptomatic case of CV-19 or a false positive.
I have no idea of the protocols. I know a French player at the USO was screwed over badly, forced to default when a coach tested positive while she showed no signs. Mandatory quarantine with the coach in the same hotel room, then the coach tested negative, still stuck in quarantine, no reinstatement in the draw. Hopefully, the Australians handle this better than the New York bunch did. (And hope the AO has younger and more agile line judges!)

Wog Boy Says:

Well CF1,
I was just about to book my flights and hotel for Melbourne when one irresponsible international aircrew member, who was supposed to self isolate between the flights, decided to go on the pub crawl and managed spread covid in Northern beaches and we were so proud we didn’t have locally transmitted case for a few weeks.
ATM the other states are thinking of closing their borders for the residents of Greater Sydney, and if Victoria decides to request quarantine (14 days) for us from Sydney I am not going since even 4-5 days that I was planning to spend in Melbourne was very hard for me to get because I work since May with return travellers in Australia and it not easy to get those days off due to certain protocols for the people directly working with returning travellers.
I have to wait and see how the Northern Beaches cluster develops, ATM we sealed them off on the other side of the Harbour Bridge, they can have their beaches all for themselves, they were always little bit arrogant and looked down on us from the sout side of Bridge😉😁

Wog Boy Says:

….and the borders for NSW residents and those who happened to be in NSW have been closed and mandatory 14 days quarantine in the hotels hav been introduced in all states for NSW residents or people coming from NSW, unless they change it before the end of January this will be first AO I missed since 2007/8.😕

J-Kath Says:

The problem is the Virus is said to be altering – becoming more infectious though not necessarily more dangerous. The UK is stating this is due to an influx from South Africa. The whole of England & Wales are on lock-down while Scotland & N. Ireland have introduced new restrictions.

Madmax Says:

Hi J-Kath,

I’m no expert, but no, no, no…not so about ‘an influx from’ South Africa. Here’s the read:

Officials in Britain and South Africa claim new variants are more easily transmitted. There’s a lot more to the story, scientists say.

Finland has become the latest country to confirm the presence of two new coronavirus variants – one stemming from the UK and the other from South Africa. The Nordic country’s double-blow follows reports South Korea had also confirmed the presence of the variant first reported in the UK.

Health officials say that one person has tested positive for VUI-202012/01 – the new variant that was discovered in the UK.

Finland imposed travel restrictions earlier this month on passengers from Britain amid concerns over the new variant, which is thought to be up to 70% more transmissible – meaning it can spread much faster than the original version.

Two people have also tested positive for the second variant which spread in South Africa.

Where did you read yours ‘influx from South Africa?’

Secondly, UK is in tiers, 1,2,3, 4 and above, so again, not on national lockdown. Important to get facts right. :-)

Four-tier coronavirus alert levels: Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4

Every area in England falls into one of four alert levels. This outlines what the guidelines are for each level and what you can and can’t do in your area.

It’s Tier 4, which is essentially the lockdown you refer to, but not Tier 1,2 or 3, though come the New Year, who knows? (perhaps you have some insider information?).

Take care,

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