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Australian Open Plans For 50% Crowds

T
ennis Australia chief executive, Craig Tiley, has confirmed crowds between 25% and 50% of previous editions will be able to attend the Australian Open in January 2021.

Tiley told Sports Sunday the 2021 edition will be an extended version of previous years, with six weeks of tennis in the plans, also confirming tennis stars Serena Williams and Roger Federer have confirmed their participation, after Federer opted out of the US Open and the French Open.

“For them (US Open and French Open) to go ahead and be successful in an environment with countries where the infection rate is really high, the US Open with no crowds and the French with small crowds, we’re certainly going to be taking away some of their successes,” Tiley said.

“We’re all go for what’s going to be a great start to the year.

“We’ve also worked out with the requirements on physical distancing, we’ve still got to stay in certain physical parameters and we’ve worked out what that would be and we’re going to have crowds anywhere between 25-50% of what we’ve had before.

“All the areas that have retractable roofs will remain outdoor arenas.

“It’s a very outdoor site… the size of the site and the way we can physically distance people, we will enjoy having quite a fair crowd,” he said.

Tiley also explained some of the biosecurity measures Tennis Australia will likely introduce for players, after discussions with the NRL and AFL over their measures.

“We’ve been talking to them every week, on Friday night, we were on a call with all the women’s players going through what it means,” Tiley said.

“We’re going to have six weeks of tennis, more tennis and events than ever before.

“We’re going to start around December when all the players will come in for two weeks of quarantine in cities around Australia and for those two weeks, we’re creating a bubble from the hotel to the courts in a training environment not too dissimilar with the AFL and NRL.

“By then, we expect the border to be completely open and we can move from city to city and then come down to Melbourne for the Australian Open.

“There are going to be more events, more tennis for people to watch not only in Australia, but around the world and our goal is to keep getting more people to watch.

“Roger [Federer] this morning confirmed publicly that he’ll be here.

“Serena Williams will be here, obviously trying to get Margaret Court’s record.

“We’re excited about the players that will be here and what we are putting on,” he said.

In the 2020 edition of the Australian Open, over 800,000 fans attended the tournament over two weeks, with Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, the home of the Australian Open, having a maximum capacity of under 15,000.