The 2021 Australian Open is most likely to be delayed by a week or two from its scheduled date, reports said. Sports Minister for Victoria state Martin Pakula has said that the first grand slam of the year is expected to go ahead, but will be delayed.
“There’s a number of potential dates on the table. I’ve seen reports that suggest that it’s likely to be delayed by a week or two. I think that’s still most likely,” Pakula said after negotiations between tennis officials and various levels of government came to a close on Wednesday.
“But it’s not the only option. As you know, the French Open was delayed by many months and Wimbledon didn’t occur at all.
“I still think it’s much more likely that it will be a shorter rather than longer delay. I don’t want to unduly repeat myself but these are very complex negotiations,” he added.
Pakula further reiterated that all arrivals to the country are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. However, he did not confirm reports of the quarantine period for players and their entourages being shortened to 10 days.
“The quarantine requirements will be those that are ultimately agreed with the public health (authorities) and then it will be a matter for the ATP and the WTA about whether or not they are acceptable.”
He also said that players will also go through a thorough testing regime when they arrive and also while they are in the biosecure bubble.
“An extremely rigorous testing regime will apply to the players both before they leave the port that they come in from and when they arrive. And then I imagine consistently through the time they’re in their bubble,” he added.
The Australian Open is scheduled to begin on January 18, 2021 in Melbourne.
Earlier this week, tournament director and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said that the final dates will be confirmed within two weeks.
As per reports, Victoria state does not have any active cases and has had no COVID-19 deaths since a month. However, a second wave of the infection has forced Melbourne city to go under a lockdown, with night curfew and other travel restrictions.