2021 Australian Open Could Be Postponed
he first tennis grand slam tournament of 2021, the Australian Open, could reportedly be rescheduled and take place after January for the first time since 1987, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reports have emerged suggesting the tournament could be moved to either March or April, with the international players apparently being denied entry into Australia until January.
Despite this, Australian Open tournament director, Craig Tiley, has said the event will take place in the Australian summer, meaning it will be completed by the end of February 2021 at the latest.
“Tennis Australia is doing everything we can to finalise the summer of tennis as soon as possible,” Tiley said.
“Our intention is to deliver a summer in conditions that allow the players to prepare and perform at their best and the fans to enjoy their efforts, all in an environment that is safe for all concerned.
“We are working closely with the Victorian Government on a plan that takes into account the needs of the players, fans, our partners and staff, and is of major benefit to the Victorian and Australian economy.
“We are continuing our urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and are confident we will have decisions soon.
“Tennis Australia is acutely aware of the need for certainty, but also conscious of reaching a solution with the State Government that ensures the safety of the entire community.
“We look forward to announcing our ticket on-sale date as soon as all arrangements with the relevant authorities are finalised and we have more information on crowd sizes.
“We anticipate this on-sale date will be within the next two weeks.
“We can’t wait for the summer and look forward to bringing you more details as soon as we possibly can,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
Early reports after Tennis Australia’s “urgent talks with local health authorities” have suggested the tournament will likely be delayed by one or two weeks from its originally scheduled January 18 start date.
Australian Open free-to-air broadcast partner, Channel Nine, who signed a five-year, $300 million deal to broadcast the Open in 2018, said it is hopeful the tournament can still take place in January as planned.
“We are working with Tennis Australia and hopeful a solution can be found to hold the Australian Open as planned in January 2021,” a Nine spokesperson said, confirming Nine would use the event as normal to help promote the launch of their planned February programming.
World no.2 Rafael Nadal, when asked after the ATP World Tour Finals in London about the talks of potential player quarantine requirements before the Australian Open, said the players need to accept the situation they are dealt with.
“I don’t know what’s the situation going to be yet,” Nadal said.
“We (the players) need to wait about what the government there in Victoria says.
“We can’t do much from ATP position or just wait.
“We [are] nobody to say what they feel is better for [their] country, no?
“We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing.
“That is difficult for everyone.
“We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year.
“Hopefully with the vaccine, that ends soon, and we can come back at least to close to normal in a couple of months, but now is a difficult situation,” he said.