The word is out that Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley sent a note to players informing them that the Australian Open will begin on February 8th.
The 2021 Australian Open is still scheduled to be commence on January 18th, but tennis media are reporting that it will be delayed by three weeks. Besides informing players, coaches and managers about the new date, Tiley also explained all the strict coronavirus measures that will be enforced, including a two-week quarantine.
Players will fly on chartered flights and arrive in Melbourne between January 15th and January 17th, but quarantine won’t start until the last player arrives. During the quarantine period, players will be tested as many as five times.
Early on, players will be allowed to train only with one other player, of course if they test negative, but after receiving a third negative COVID-19 test on the eighth day of quarantine, they will be able to train with a maximum of four people. Only one coach per player is allowed.
Moreover, players will be permitted to leave their hotels just five hours a day: two hours to practice on the court, two hours for the gym, and one hour to eat at the tournament site. All movement outside of the hotels will be limited to Melbourne Park and Albert Reserve Tennis Centre.
Australia is among the rare countries where the coronavirus is really under control. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews believes that the Australian Open can go ahead without triggering a spike in COVID-19 positive cases:
So we are unique in that we’ve built something that no one else has built across the nation … and on that basis, we have to safeguard that, [and] I think we can.
You don’t mention that after the two weeks quarantine, ie before the tournament has even started, they will be able to go wherever they like in Melbourne and Victoria and the whole of Australia if the state borders are still open. That is, they will no longer be in a bubble because they have done the quarantine. So they will be safer here than they would be virtually anywhere else in the world.
CLT, the articles that I read didn’t mention that. Tennis.com states: “Player travel is restricted to Melbourne Park and the Albert Reserve Tennis Centre.” You are from Australia? I heard that you had very strict measures, that you were restricted to 5 km from your home. How is it now?
The quarantine restrictions are only for the first two weeks after the players arrive. After the quarantine period they can behave the same as anyone else in Australia according to whatever rules are current. So while the actual tournament is on they will not be restricted in any way except for those restrictions that apply to all Australians. They can move freely and go to restaurants and the beach etc. The current restrictions mainly apply to the number of people at gatherings and in restaurants etc. The 5km restriction in Victoria was lifted a few weeks ago now.
CLT, that’s sounds great. Players will be able to feel normal after the quarantine. Thanks for sharing this information.
Great to hear that the Australian Open is likely to go ahead in 2021. Hopefully we’ll get to see the likes of Ash Barty and Roger Federer back on the court!
Do we have any idea what will happen to subsequent events if the Australian Open is pushed back to February 8th? Surely it’s going to clash with events that would usually be taking place then, like the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy? And maybe even later events like the Dubai Duty Free Championships and the Qatar Total Open?
Chris Czermak, that’s a good question. I suppose that those events will also be pushed back. That’s the only solution I can think of. The situation is complicated and decisions will be made on the go.