Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley confirmed today that the 2021 Australian Open will take place at Melbourne Park from 8 and 21 February.
“This will be an historic Australian Open on so many levels,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley announced on Twitter.
“For the first time in more than 100 years the Australian Open will start in February, and we look forward to offering the players what we believe will be one of their best playing experiences in 2021.”
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic causing issues around the world, Tennis Australia and the Victorian Government had been cautious not to jump into hosting the Australian Open too soon without considering the necessary safeguards to help protect the Victorian public.
“From the outset, ensuring players have the best possible preparation for the Australian Open, while at all times protecting the precious COVID-free environment that the Victorian community has built through incredible sacrifice and hard work over the past six months, has been paramount.”
“It has taken eight months of working alongside government authorities, here in Victoria, nationally and interstate, to give us the opportunity to present an Australian Open that will play a major role in both the economic and psychological reinvigoration and rejuvenation of Melbourne and Victoria.”
Tiley confirmed players will travel to Australia on the 15 and 16 January on chartered flights to complete a two-week quarantine ahead the event.
“We are chartering flights from around the world, so the players, before they get on any flight, will have to test negative within a 48-hour window.”
“When they arrive they will receive another test, which will have to be negative, and they’ll remain in their hotel rooms until they have those two negative tests.”
“Then it’s a modified quarantine environment, a high level of security. They will be transported from the hotels, which will be players-only, to the courts for no more than five hours a day.”
After the hard work the Victorian community have put in to stamp out the virus, Tennis Australia are understandably implementing stringent measures to ensure the wider Victorian community does not see another rise in cases, and rightly so.
Players were also concerned over whether they would be able to train and compete in a warm-up event, before the tournament, with many arguing staying in a hotel room for two weeks and going straight into a grand slam tournament would be unsafe.
But Tennis Australia has listened to these concerns with Tiley concurring players would need to be able to train in isolation, to compete in the event.
“They would not be prepared, and we would not get the field of play that we are anticipating, so this a modified environment.”
“For 14 days, they will only be able to go between the hotel room and the courts in a secure environment. There will be frequent tests during that two-week period,” Tiley said, confirming players will be split into groups and will have one designated practice partner during the first week.
“After the first week, we increase the size of the cohort by a couple more, so it gives them a chance to hit with someone a bit different and be fully prepared.”
The WTA has also confirmed the first eight weeks of their season which will match that of the ATP Tour, which will also see two WTA500 tournaments take place between the 31 and 7 February 2021.Embed from Getty Images
While catering to ensure the grand slam goes ahead safely, Tennis Australia have also committed to using the event to help local Victorian businesses get back on their feet following the devastating effects of the pandemic.
“AO 2021 is going to be all about supporting local businesses – our tennis coaches, the farmers, food and wine producers, chefs, artists and musicians – and celebrating everything that is great about our country, as well as providing opportunities to those who’ve been so hard hit during the pandemic, particularly in Melbourne and Victoria.”
With all this local Victorian music and food on offer, next year’s Australian Open is set to be a ripper; you don’t want to miss out!
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