The 2021 Australian Open looks set to start on February 8–three weeks later than originally scheduled–the Victorian Government has confirmed.
According to ABC News, players are likely to arrive in mid-January and complete their quarantine on January 31.
During that time, they will be allowed outside their hotels for five hours a day–to go to tennis courts or the gym.
This should leave the first week of February available as a window for any warm-up tournaments.
The ATP Cup, which was held over 10 days in its inaugural edition this year, could, therefore, be cancelled.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said: “We want the event to happen, it’s very important. I do, however, have to make the point that it has to be safe,” reported ABC News.
The players’ quarantine will be run by the Victorian government and paid for by Tennis Australia. This, along with falling revenue, is expected to cost TA more than $40 million.
Melbourne exited an 112-day lockdown on October 28 after recording no new Covid-19 cases for the first time since June.
Andy Murray discussed the prospect of a delayed Australian Open in an interview with Metro.
“It’s obviously tricky for the players. Originally we planned to go on the 12th or 13th of December to arrive around the 15th.
“Then that kind of changed and the latest I’ve heard is that they’ve planned to push it back a couple of weeks, not right up until Indian Wells/Miami time, which is what I think has been suggested by some people.
“I don’t think that would work for the sport. They’re two huge tournaments in March. I think it would be the best case scenario now if they (put) it back a couple of weeks. I’ll go as soon as I can,” said Murray.
Main Photo from Getty.