The Australian Open has been in the eye of the storm, as uncertainties raised regarding its start date, the logistics upon player’s arrivals, and safety requirements due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, Sports Pundit contacted Tennis Australia - the organization that manages the tournament, to request an official statement on the event, current situation.
Here is what we learned from Tennis Australia: “Although there have been many reports, there has been no official announcement yet on plans for the Australian Open. We await the final details to be signed off by the Victorian Government.
“We issued a statement a few days ago, and this still stands.”
The statement the organization refers to was made on Tuesday by Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia CEO, and at the time of writing, it is the last word standing.
“Tennis Australia continues to work closely and productively with the Victorian Government, and we are confident we will be in a position to finalize details for Australian Open 2021 very soon.
“Understandably, there has been public speculation on the various plans under consideration as well as the many confidential conversations that have taken place and our position remains clear - everything will require approval and agreement from the Victorian Government before it can be confirmed.”
Tiley further explains: “We are also in constant communication with the global tennis community, including the Tours, the players, and their teams, as we consult with them on plans for the event and how players can safely practice and prepare for a Grand Slam tournament under the Victorian Governments proposed quarantine conditions.
“Our team continues to work on delivering a fantastic and safe - AO 2021 for the players, the fans, our partners, and our staff. We look forward to announcing more details, including when tickets will go on sale, very soon,” he concludes.
Asked about how many spectators would be allowed in a tennis match, the organization issued no comment.
During the day, reports from several sources emerged, informing that the starting date of the tournament has been moved from January 18 to February 8, pointing as the source of information a note sent to players from Tiley.
The note first reported by The Age Australia reads: “It’s taken a while, but the great news is it looks like we are going to be able to hold the AO on February 8.
“Players will have to quarantine for two weeks from January 15, but the Victorian Government has agreed to special conditions for AO participants agreeing that they need to be able to prepare for a Grand Slam.”
In the event of such reports, Sports Pundit talked again with Tennis Australia; the organization reaffirmed the statement made by Craig Tiley on Tuesday stands until further official information is released.
Founded in 1905, the first Grand Slam of the tennis season gathers 128 singles players, 64 doubles, 16 qualifiers, and eight wildcards to compete in the hard courts at Melbourne Park.
COVID-19 - AUSTRALIA
At the moment, Australia registers no community transmission of COVID-19.
The country has implemented strict quarantine procedures, with international travel remaining extremely limited.
In June, the state of Victoria suffered a second wave of the virus, reaching a peak of over 700 cases a day, the same registered in the UK and France at that time.
A very strict lockdown was put into action, with a curfew, a five-kilometer limit on travel from home, only allowing outings for essential shopping, medical appointments, and an hour of exercise.
The lockdown stood for more than 100 days, and restrictions are being eased gradually.
In the last 30 days, Melbourne - city, capital of the state of Victoria, has not registered any cases, with thousands of tests continue to be performed each day.