This is a time when all sporting events are following very strict rules. The situation is unprecedented, with sporting tournaments and events all over the world facing some of the strangest and most difficult times since wartime. This is no different for the Australian Open tennis tournament, usually scheduled for the third week in January. However, with all the current tough regulations and restrictions facing the event, if it goes off without a hitch, it will be a miracle.
So far, the tournament has seen a big name pull out and others hanging by a thread, which puts Australian Open betting all over the place. You could bet on a player one day, to find out he has withdrawn, the next. This is a nightmare situation for organisers, bookmakers and punters alike, as anything could happen and nothing can be predicted.
A Tricky Start
Players looking to play in the tournament are facing tough restrictions, and even tougher sanctions for breaking them, which is putting some players off. What’s more, it has already been delayed by a couple of weeks and is now set to start on 8th February.
The tournament is always held in Melbourne, and this was the epicenter of the second wave of the pandemic in Australia, which caused yet another unforeseen lockdown, lasting four months. This sent everything into utter chaos and the tournament is hanging by a thread.
The biggest problem is the quarantine players. To avoid the spread of the disease, players are required to quarantine for 14 days. However, there are discussions over whether they should be able to practice at this time. Can players entering such a huge tournament go without practice for two weeks? But can they afford to mix with each other and potentially spread the virus? There has been a compromise agreed on, where there are now five-hour blocks each day for training and treatment.
The Withdrawal of a Champion
No tournament is complete with one of the biggest stars of the game, Roger Federer, but the Australian Open 2021 will have to go ahead without him. This is unprecedented, as it will break his incredible streak of 21 straight appearances at the tournament. It is believed he has pulled out because of the quarantine rules. However, in his choice to skip it, he is not alone. No. 25 seed, American John Isner, has also pulled out as he doesn’t want to spend that much time away from family.
These restrictions are simply causing too many headaches for the players. Should Federer decide to head over, he would be accompanied by his family. However, they would have to spend their entire time locked up in a hotel room, as the only exception for training and treatment is for players. Families would be expected to stick to harsh quarantine stipulations.
It has now been revealed, however, that the tournament’s major stars, such as Djokovic, Nadal, Osaka and Williams would quarantine in Adelaide and play in an exhibition match, which has led to accusations of favouritism.
Whatever happens this year, it is certainly going to be a tournament like no other.
Main Photo from Getty.