Australian Open dates expected within two weeks

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)
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Updated 22 November 2020

Australian Open dates expected within two weeks

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.


FIA launches probe into fiery Grosjean crash at Bahrain Grand Prix

Updated 03 December 2020

FIA launches probe into fiery Grosjean crash at Bahrain Grand Prix

FIA launches probe into fiery Grosjean crash at Bahrain Grand Prix
  • The Halo device is widely considered to have helped save Romain Grosjean’s life

SAKHIR, Bahrain: Motor racing chiefs announced on Thursday the launch of an investigation into Romain Grosjean’s fiery Bahrain crash, saying the forensic probe would take “around six to eight” weeks to complete.
The French Formula One driver somehow wrenched himself free from his blazing Haas car with just burns to his hands and a broken left foot after a collision with Daniil Kvyat on the first lap of Sunday’s Grand Prix. He left hospital on Wednesday.
In the immediate aftermath of the shocking smash there was widespread praise for modern safety measures in the sport, but also concern over what F1’s motor sport managing director Ross Brawn described as “unpredictable” failures.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said it had “initiated a detailed analysis of Romain Grosjean’s accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.”
The FIA’s safety director, Adam Baker, said: “With so much data available in Formula 1, it allows us to accurately determine every element of what occurred and this work has already begun.
“We take this research very seriously and will follow a rigorous process to find out exactly what happened before proposing potential improvements.”
The FIA probe will look at a range of factors including Grosjean’s helmet, safety harness, headrest, in-car extinguisher and the Halo cockpit protection.
The Halo device is widely considered to have helped save Grosjean’s life as his car was sliced in two after careering into a barrier.
“The ‘halo’ saved the day and it saved Romain,” Brawn said on Sunday.
“There was controversy in developing it initially, but there can’t be any doubt now, so hats off to those who pushed for the introduction.”
But he added: “The fire is worrying. The split in the barrier is worrying and the barrier coming apart, but we can be happy with the safety of the car – that got us through today, but things failed in an unpredictable way.
“We haven’t seen anything like that for a very long time, but the barrier splitting normally results in a fatality.”
At the circuit new safety measures have been introduced to reduce the risk of a repeat crash at this Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
Two rows of tires wrapped in a conveyor belt have been installed in front of a reconstructed guardrail at the exit of Turn Three.
Several drivers expressed serious concerns at the failure of the barrier and the manner in which it was punctured.
In other changes to the circuit, where this weekend’s Grand Prix will be using the shorter “outer loop’, a kerb has been removed at Turn Nine – which was used as Turn 13 last Sunday – and a tire barrier in the approach to that corner has been extended and enlarged to four rows in depth.
Grosjean left hospital on Wednesday and in an Instagram post he highlighted the professionalism of a marshal with an extinguisher and the FIA doctor in the following Safety Car, who was on the scene very quickly.
“I told him he was a hero,” said Grosjean.
“He went into the fire as much as he could to save me. I felt Ian’s hands pulling me over the barrier and I knew I was safe... life will never be the same again.”
Grosjean is resting and healing from burns at a hotel in Abu Dhabi where he hopes he will be fit enough to race in the season-closing race next weekend.