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2021 Australian Open Confirmed For February 8 Start

T
he 2021 Australian Open (AO) start date of February 8 has been confirmed by Tennis Australia CEO, Craig Tiley, in a leaked email to players, coaches and managers.

News Corp revealed the email, in which Tiley said Victorian Government authorities had agreed to special conditions allowing the players to prepare in Melbourne with two weeks of quarantine required.

“It’s taken a while, but the great news is it looks like we are going to be able to hold the AO on February 8,” Tiley said.

“Players will have to quarantine for two weeks from 15 January, but the Victorian Government has agreed to special conditions for AO participants, agreeing that they need to be able to prepare for a grand slam.

“There will be strict conditions, but after quarantine, players are free to stay where they want, go where they want, play lead-in matches and then compete in an AO in front of significant crowds in a great Melbourne atmosphere for the first time in many months,” he said.

Victorian premier, Dan Andrews, reiterated that he only wants the players to arrive from early January.

“Only the Australian Open is a tennis tournament in a city where it can likely be assumed that those players will bring the virus here,” Andrews said during a Wednesday press conference.

“Every other grand slam [is held in locations where] cases are running wild.

“Every other tournament, certainly those in the United States which is I think the lion’s share of the tournaments.

“So we are unique in that we’ve built something that no one else has built across the nation… and on that basis, we have to safeguard that, and I think we can,” he said.

As part of the plans, it is reported the players must test negative to COVID-19 on the first day of their isolation in order to be allowed to train, and will then be tested another four times before the start of the Australian Open.

The initial reports suggest players will be allowed to arrive in Australia and begin quarantine from January 15, after Tennis Australia revealed earlier that they originally wanted players to be allowed in from mid-December so the AO could start as originally scheduled.