Tennis hub to be centered in Melbourne for Australian Open

Tanya Simon
November 18, 2020

In the News Corp report, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said global players would travel directly to Melbourne to quarantine in a "bubble" for two weeks, rather than multiple Australian cities.

"So the Australian Open will be played in an open environment with players moving around freely, as well as fans - at least up to 25 per cent (capacity)", Tiley said.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said the move was because virus restrictions meant that state governments could not guarantee overseas players contesting warm-ups outside Victoria would be free to travel to Melbourne for the Grand Slam. "This needs to be done on the best of public health advice".

Andrews noted that it was a massive logistical undertaking involving complex quarantine arrangements, saying "the notion this is all tied up with a bow, it's a done deal, that's simply wrong".

"We want the event to happen, just like the [cricket]", Andrews said.

Tiley told the Herald Sun that the men's season-opening ATP Cup and other Australian Open warmups, including the Brisbane International and events in Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra, would be moved to Victoria.

With Tennis Australia looking to host all its tournaments in Melbourne, Djokovic might skip them and directly play the Australian Open.

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Players would be confined to their hotels and tennis facilities until they have completed their quarantine period. Some states closed their borders on South Australia on Monday after 17 new cases of coronavirus were recorded.

Djokovic is the defending champion at the Australian Open and ATP Cup.

Asked about Andrews's comments on Monday night, Djokovic replied: "I have not noticed much of a doubt whether the tournaments will happen or not".

"It is challenging, I must say".

World No.1 Novak Djokovic steamrolled past Diego Schwartzman in his first group stage match at ATP Finals 2020. "I'm not sure about the ATP Cup and the tournaments before because obviously you have to leave quite in advance, actually, I think two and a half or three weeks prior to the first match".

Mark Handley, ATP Cup General Manager and Tournament Director for the Brisbane International, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp radio: "There's an influx of 2,600 international players and their entourages coming in from all over the world, that's the defining factor".

The Australian Open plans are similar to the buildup for the US Open, the first of the tennis majors held after the global sports shutdown, when the Cincinnati tournament was moved to NY ahead of the Grand Slam. At this stage, the state government is allowing a crowd of up to 25% capacity at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Australia vs. India test match starting December 26. "We are. investing in the event", he said.

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