FILE PHOTO: Aug 8, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Close up of the net and ATP logo during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports / File Photo
By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, Nov 18 (.) – Australia’s Victorian state government is confident the Australian Open will go ahead but offered no guarantees on Wednesday that players will be allowed to arrive in time for the Australian Open season. ATP Cup and other events in January.
The ATP men’s circuit told players Tuesday that the start of the 2021 season remained undefined due to “challenges” in Australia, which has its borders effectively closed to international arrivals due to anti-COVID-19 protocols.
Tennis Australia (TA) planned for players and their companions to arrive in Victoria in mid-December to allow time for a mandatory two-week quarantine period before competing in January.
However, Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews questioned whether the players should arrive so soon and said the Government was continuing to work with Tennis Australia on quarantine agreements.
“(Tennis Australia) is working (with) all its partners and we are confident that there will finally be an Australian Open,” Andrews told reporters.
“Whether (the players) need to be here in December is the other question.
“I don’t know if that necessarily means there is no Australian Open.”
The Australian Open is scheduled to begin on January 18 at Melbourne Park, but the dates for the ATP Team Cup and other events leading up to the first Grand Slam of the year have yet to be set.
If players are unable to enter Australia until January, they will not be able to play the preparation events unless allowed while in quarantine, a concession that has not been available for other sports in the country.
The ATP said it was working hard to keep the event schedule.
“In conversations with Tennis Australia over the last 24 hours, we have been informed that there are some new challenges around the previously planned arrival dates for players and team members,” the ATP said in a note to Players.
Australia has largely contained the COVID-19 epidemic, and Victoria has not registered any new cases in nearly three weeks.
However, the nation is on high alert after a new outbreak in the state of South Australia in recent days, prompting authorities to order a six-day lockdown.
(Reported by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; edited by Toby Davis and Kim Coghill, translated by Michael Susin at the Gdansk newsroom)