Next year’s Australian Open is “likely to be” postponed “by a week or two,” according to a national government announcement in Victoria, Australia on Wednesday.
The tournament, the first tennis slam of the year, is currently scheduled to start on January 18 and the women’s and men’s finals will be on January 30 and 31.
“I am still confident that we will have the Australian Open, and we will get it earlier this year,” Martin Pakula, Victoria’s Minister of Tourism, Sport and Events, told reporters in Melbourne.
“It will be delayed by a week or two. I think that’s still possible, it’s not the end of the road.”
Rigorous Testing Regime
Tennis Australia says it has been “in urgent negotiations” with the national government regarding solitary confinement and the necessary security arrangements needed for the Australian Open to proceed.
“Our goal is to bring summer to an atmosphere that allows players to prepare and do their best and fans to enjoy their efforts – all in a safe place for all involved,” the statement said on Sunday.
Minister Pakula also called for a “strong test regime, which will apply to tennis players, before they leave the port of origin and when they arrive. And then I think consistently of the time they are at the ballpark.”
By the time the second Covid-19 wave forced Melbourne to be shut down for 112 days in the southern hemisphere, most of the borders had softened.
There has been no new recorded case of coronavirus in Victoria since October 29.
What Are The Players Saying?
Uncertainty about when the Australian Open will start shows the confusion of some tennis players.
“I’m going to Australia where we can avoid any situations that might change your mind about competing,” ATP Finals winner Daniil Medvedev told CNN’s Christina Macfarlane earlier this week.
“For example, if you have not been able to compete or train during a solitary confinement before a tournament, I do not think this tournament will ever happen.
“[I do not complain] that it is boring or something like this, that just going out of the room after 14 days doing nothing [and] playing five sets right away, I think, can be dangerous to the life of any athlete.
“At least from what was said before, we will be able to practice tennis courts and exercise, which is very important. I don’t think it will be possible for anyone to go there [if] they need to stay in the room for 14 days.”