All of Thursday’s matches at Melbourne Park have been abandoned after a hotel quarantine worker operating at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne tested positive for COVID-19.
Approximately 600 close contacts of the worker have been told to isolate and take a coronavirus test. That includes 507 players, officials, and coaches who were staying at the hotel between 16 and 29 January.
We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible.— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 3, 2021
There will be no matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday. An update on the schedule for Friday will be announced later today. #AusOpen
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley spoke to the media earlier today, clarifying that players had been told to isolate and take a coronavirus test.
“We told them last night [Wednesday evening] that when they got up this morning at 9 o’clock, they would start testing, and that all of them would have to isolate, get a test and stay in isolation until they got permission from the health authorities to come out of isolation after a negative test,” Tiley said.
“They are all considered casual contacts, and there are about 50 staff that are considered close contacts. They’re testing and will have to isolate for 14 days.”
“We are doing this for the extra precaution, to not only ensure the safety of our players but to ensure the safety and health of our community.”
Matches that were set to take place on Thursday will be rescheduled to fit in with Friday’s order of play.
Meanwhile, the draw for the Australian Open was also due to take place on Thursday, and will now also be postponed until Friday afternoon.
“The decision at this point is we will continue with the lead-in events tomorrow, the schedule for that will come out later, we’ll do the draw for the Australian Open tomorrow, and we’ll play the Australian Open starting Monday.”
Tiley affirmed that the Australian Open start date would not be affected by the rescheduling.
“So as far as the tennis goes, we are, as I mentioned earlier, planning on continuing with the matches we had scheduled with today and tomorrow. Those that were not in that hotel could come on-site and practice and receive treatment and will continue with the normal preparation day today.”
“This does give us three days for the lead-in events to complete, obviously tomorrow we have some challenging weather, so we gotta work around that as well.”
“There is no intention on changing the time for the Australian Open.”
Reports suggest that matches for the three WTA events could have a 3rd set tie break introduced to speed up games ahead of the grand slam that is set to start on Monday.
Friday’s order of play has now been announced, and it’s gearing up to be a huge day of tennis.
Friday’s Australian Open order of play released.— George Bellshaw (@BellshawGeorge) February 4, 2021
Two matches in a day for the likes of Dan Evans, Nick Kyrgios, Stan Wawrinka and Jannik Sinner (if they win their first ones…) pic.twitter.com/4gET6A07ao
World No.1 Ashleigh Barty will kick the day off at 10:00 am, where she’ll take on American Shelby Rogers in the Yarra Valley Classic.
They’ll be followed by a repeat of the 2020 Australian Open final as Garbine Muguruza and Sofia Kenin do battle once again, this time at the Margaret Court Arena.
Serena Williams is also in action in the Gippsland Trophy, and world No.2 Simona Halep will play Ekaterina Alexandrova later on in the day in the Gippsland Trophy.
Nick Kyrgios will also take to the court twice tomorrow. He’ll first face off against Borna Coric in the morning and will then play the UK’s Dan Evans in the afternoon.
The ATP Cup will also be in action too, with the Rod Laver Arena set to host a colossal bout between Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.
You won’t want to miss that one!
Storms are expected to hit Melbourne overnight, with lots of rain due to fall in the early hours of the morning, but Craig Tiley was confident that the adverse weather wouldn’t dampen the schedule.
“Of course with the rain, we do have the luxury of three stadium courts and three indoor courts, so we have 11 indoor courts we can continue matches on,” he said.
“That will enable us to not get ahead but at least finish by Sunday.”
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