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.


Australia says ‘no’ to tennis stars’ calls for COVID-19 quarantine change

Australia says ‘no’ to tennis stars’ calls for COVID-19 quarantine change
Updated 19 January 2021

Australia says ‘no’ to tennis stars’ calls for COVID-19 quarantine change

Australia says ‘no’ to tennis stars’ calls for COVID-19 quarantine change
  • ‘People are free to ask for things, but the answer is no’
  • ‘They knew what they were traveling into and we are not cutting corners or making special arrangements’

SYDNEY: Australian authorities said mandatory hotel quarantine for people arriving for the Australian Open tennis tournament was essential to stop COVID-19, as the country recorded another day with no new locally acquired cases on Tuesday.
Some of the world’s top tennis players including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic have questioned the country’s enforced 14-day hotel quarantine, suggesting they should be allowed to complete the process in accommodation with tennis courts before the tournament which starts in Victoria state on Feb. 8.
But Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said he would not make changes.
“People are free to ask for things, but the answer is no,” Andrews told reporters in a televised news conference.
“They knew what they were traveling into and we are not cutting corners or making special arrangements.”
More than 70 players and their entourage are confined to their hotel rooms after passengers on three charter flights returned positive tests for the coronavirus. Victoria recorded four new cases in hotel quarantine on Tuesday, but these are not counted as community transmissions.
Andrews came under substantial pressure in 2020 after putting the country’s second-most populous state into a months-long lockdown to fight a second wave of infections of the new coronavirus.
In neighboring New South Wales state, Hollywood actor Matt Damon was granted an exemption from hotel quarantine after arriving to film a “Thor” sequel in Sydney.
Damon flew in on a private jet, will stay in a rented house under security and pay for hospital-grade cleaning for his 14-day quarantine, a doctor involved in his quarantine was quoted saying in local media.
As Australia’s hard-line border controls keep daily numbers of new coronavirus cases at zero or low single digits, tourism operators have called for additional subsidies after health authorities suggested the country would not fully reopen its borders in 2021.
If the industry did not receive an extension of federal wage subsidies that are due to end in March, “we’ll be lucky to have a tourism industry in 12 or 18 months’ time,” Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
But Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the country would be unlikely to fully reopen its border soon, even though it hopes to start a vaccination program next month.
“There will be a process through 2021 of returning to some sort of normal,” Kelly told reporters.
“Unfortunately, international borders changes will be one of the last things to change, rather than the first.”