Australian Open tell players they must not arrive in Melbourne until January 1 because of Covid-19 regulations… but two weeks of isolation leaves top stars just FOUR days to get prepared for first Grand Slam of 2021 season
- The Australian Open is scheduled to start in Melbourne on January 18
- Tournament organisers have warned players not to arrive before January 1
- Usually the players descend on Melbourne in December to play warm-up events
- Melbourne has only recently got the Covid crisis under control after lockdown
Tournament organisers have been warned that participants should not arrive until at least January 1 before they can begin an obligatory two-week quarantine.
Originally they had been told to head Down Under in mid-December to play build-up events in the normal slots.
Covid-19 restrictions could see the start of the Australian Open pushed back to later in January
With the main draw of the season’s opening Grand Slam due to begin on January 18 it will surely have to be pushed back at least a week in the calendar – if it happens at all.
Any change will cause a knock-on effect with the rest of the tour, which is due to move on to North and South America, and Europe, in February.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the government was still working with Tennis Australia on quarantine arrangements.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is remaining confident that the Australian Open will happen
Andrews said: ‘We’re confident that we’ll finish up with an Australian Open.
‘Whether [players] need to be here in December is the other issue. I don’t know if that necessarily means there isn’t an Australian Open.’
Melbourne has only recently got on top of the Covid crisis after a prolonged lockdown, and local health officials and politicians are viewing the arrival of hundreds of tennis players from around the world with trepidation.
Novak Djokovic will head to Melbourne Park as the defending men’s singles champion
Sportsmail revealed earlier this month how Tennis Australia was prepared to lay on more tournaments after the opening Grand Slam of the year.
The world’s leading players usually head off to events in North and South America, or indoors in Europe, once they are finished at the Australian Open in Melbourne.