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Top six tennis players will quarantine in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open, while Craig Tiley confirms zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 rule breaches.

The world’s top six tennis players will travel to Adelaide to compete in an exhibition tournament ahead of the Australian Open. 

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley confirmed on the Tennis Channel yesterday that 50 players would complete their quarantine in Adelaide, including the top 3 men’s and top 3 women’s players.

With 1270 players and support staff arriving on a fleet of 18 aircraft on the 16 January, Tennis Australia were tight on numbers of how many players would be admitted into Victoria. 

We’re right up to the edge on the numbers of people who are allowed to quarantine in Melbourne,” Tiley told the Tennis Channel. “So we approached the SA government about the possibility of quarantining at least 50 people,” Tiley said. 

The Premier (Steven Marshall) agreed to host 50 people in a quarantine bubble and have those players host an exhibition tournament.”

So we chose the top 3 men and top 3 women they’ll play an exhibition on the 29 and 30th January.” 

Last year, South Australia held the inaugural Adelaide International at the newly built $44 million  Memorial Drive Tennis Complex. The tournament was a huge success with world No.1 Ashleigh Barty and Andrey Rublev taking home the women’s and men’s singles championships.

But due to concerns over the pandemic, the tournament was cancelled this year, much to the dismay of the South Australian representatives who were “keen as mustard to run a second event.”

Although it seems South Australia may get its Adelaide international after all, albeit in slightly different circumstances to last year’s competition. 

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Yet the threat of border closures still looms over Tennis Australia, particularly in light of events taking place on the east coast this week with Brisbane going into a circuit-breaker lockdown after seeing a spike in coronavirus cases. 

If there’s a situation where borders are being closed, we would review that situation,” Tiley said. 

The move remains a considerable risk for Tennis Australia, who worked hard to ensure the world’s marquee players would be playing at the event.

Tennis Australia is taking a zero-tolerance approach to quarantine breaches 

Meanwhile, Tiley also confirmed the quarantine conditions for those in Adelaide would be the same as those quarantining in Victoria. 

Players will be required to remain in their rooms for 19 hours a day, but they will be allowed to practice for 5 hours a day with a playing partner. 

They will also be tested regularly throughout their quarantine.

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall stated the event would “showcase just how well South Australia has done with the coronavirus.

We have been working with Tennis Australia, SA Health and SA Police to be able to bring in a very small number of the top seeds to play a lead-up match at Memorial Drive,” Marshall said. 

Even though these players are the top seeds in the world, they will still have to abide by the strict 14-day quarantine, and every aspect of what they do right down to having a hit-up is being very, very closely monitored,” said Steven Marshall. 

$20,000 fines, forfeiture of prize money, and deportation were listed as some of the penalties should a player breach any quarantine protocol. 

Tiley urged players to take responsibility and respect the rules and efforts that have gone into organising the event. 

When you go to the effort that you have to go to, to get to the Australian Open, it would be a ridiculous error for someone to make,” The Tournament Director said.

Any breach by your team will be considered as a breach by you.

With the threat of players bringing the coronavirus back into Australia after the sacrifices the country has made to eliminate it, Tennis Australia is rightly taking a strict approach in their application of the rules.

Tickets for the 2021 Australian Open are on sale now at Tixel.com.au.


Featured image: Rafael Nadal by y.caradec // https://www.flickr.com/photos/10288162@N07/5756579600 // Licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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