Australian Open could be pushed back by TWO weeks until the beginning of February as organisers seek green light for players to practice during their mandatory two-week quarantine
- The first Grand Slam of season at Australian Open could start on February 1
- Organisers have been locked in talks with health officials over Covid measures
- Players want to maintain fitness and practice during their two-week quarantine
Next season’s Australian Open could now be moved back two weeks to begin at the start of February.
Organisers have been locked in discussions with local health officials about the stringency of segregation measures that those who want to participate will have to go through.
On Thursday night there were hints of a breakthrough, suggesting that players will be allowed to practice during their mandatory two-week quarantine.
Roger Federer and Co may have to wait until the beginning of February for the Australian Open
One leading coach predicted to Sportsmail that there will be mass withdrawals if players are forced to do a full two-week isolation without being permitted to train and maintain fitness levels.
‘If players and support staff are confined to hotels or even just hotel rooms for a fortnight then most of them will not travel at all, it just isn’t going to happen,’ he said.
Being locked up in a room is what ordinary citizens arriving from overseas have been obliged to go through, and it has succeeded in almost completely supressing the virus in Australia. Beyond the tennis world, many do not see why athletes should be excused doing the same.
The Australian Open in Melbourne could go ahead two weeks later than scheduled
However Tennis Australia is strongly hoping to be granted dispensation for players to be let out.
According to local reports, an arrival window of January 5-7 may be set for players, with warm-up events taking place later in the month, followed by the season’s first Grand Slam starting on February 1, two weeks later than scheduled.
That would cause knock-on effects, with Great Britain’s home Billie Jean Cup (formerly Fed Cup) tie against Mexico due to happen February 5-6 among those events which would need to be rearranged.
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