Australian Open dates expected within two weeks

Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup trophy after beating Dominic Thiem in their men’s singles final of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Feb. 3, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 22 November 2020

Australian Open dates expected within two weeks

  • Tennis Australia is ‘doing everything we can to finalize the summer of tennis as soon as possible’
  • Reports the tournament might be delayed, even as late as April, are ‘speculation’

MELBOURNE, Australia: Tennis Australia says the dates for next year’s Australian Open in Melbourne should be known within two weeks.
Chief executive Craig Tiley was responding on Sunday to unsourced reports the season-opening grand slam event might be pushed back until February, March or even later.
The tournament is scheduled to start on Jan. 18. But questions remain over quarantine arrangements for players and their entourages — an estimated 2,500 people.
In a statement Tiley said Tennis Australia is “doing everything we can to finalize the summer of tennis as soon as possible.”
“Our intention is to deliver a summer in conditions that allow the players to prepare and perform at their best and the fans to enjoy their efforts — all in an environment that is safe for all concerned,” he said.
Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews has said is government is working to smooth out any quarantine issues. The government’s previous reluctance to allow players to arrive before Jan. 1 had been a stumbling block to confirming tournament dates.
With a requirement to complete 14 days in managed isolation, players might not have been released until days before matches began.
“We are working closely with the Victorian Government on a plan that takes into account the needs of the players, fans, our partners and staff and is of major benefit to the Victorian and Australian economies,” Tiley said.
“We are continuing our urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and are confident we will have decisions soon.”
Tiley said TA is “acutely aware” of the need for certainty but also of reaching a solution with the state government that ensures the safety of the entire community.
“We look forward to announcing our ticket on-sale date as soon as all arrangements with the relevant authorities are finalized and we have more information on crowd sizes. We anticipate this on-sale date will be within the next two weeks,” he said.
Tiley said reports the tournament might be delayed, even as late as April, are “speculation.”
Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, was hard-hit by COVID-19 during the winter but has now gone 23 days without a new infection.


Australian Open ‘likely’ to be delayed by two weeks

Updated 25 November 2020

Australian Open ‘likely’ to be delayed by two weeks

  • Australian Open chief Craig Tiley had originally wanted players to start arriving from mid-December
  • But the plan was thrown into doubt by Victoria state Premier Dan Andrews

SYDNEY: The Australian Open will likely be delayed by one to two weeks, officials said Wednesday, as talks continue over staging the tournament in Melbourne, which has only recently emerged from months of coronavirus lockdown.
A delay for a week or two to the first Grand Slam of the year, scheduled to begin on January 18, was now “most likely,” said Martin Pakula, the Sports Minister of the Victoria State government.
“I still think it’s much more likely that it will be a shorter rather than longer delay,” Pakula said.
The “very complex negotiations” were still under way but he remained confident it would go ahead in the early part of 2021.
For eight months, Australia has virtually closed off from the rest of the world, with a blanket ban on non-residents entering the country and citizens strongly advised against all foreign travel.
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley had originally wanted players to start arriving in Australia from mid-December so they could undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine before playing traditional warm-up events.
But the plan was thrown into doubt by Victoria state Premier Dan Andrews, who reportedly will not allow players to arrive before January, which would make it all but impossible to hold the high-profile ATP Cup and other tournaments the start of the Open.
Still under discussion is whether players will be able to train or compete during quarantine.
It comes as Grand Slam winner Andy Murray called for all players to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when it becomes available.
“I would hope that all the players would be willing to do that for the good of the sport — providing everything has proved to be safe, clinical trials and everything have been done and there are not any significant side-effects,” Murray said.
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Nadal said it was an unprecedented situation and urged patience from players.
“That is difficult for everyone,” he said at the ATP Finals in London last week.
“We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year.”