A postponement of one or two weeks of the Australian Open, supposed to start on January 18, is now “very probable“due to restrictions related to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, said Martin Pakula, the Minister of Sport in the Victoria State Government on Wednesday.”I still think it’s much more likely to be a shorter timeframe than a longer timeframe“, Mr. Pakula immediately qualified.
Novak Djokovic with the Australian Open trophy.
Credit: Getty Images
While “very complex negotiations“are still in progress, he said he was convinced that the first Grand Slam tournament of the season would take place in early 2021. For eight months, Australia has closed its borders to non-residents and advises its nationals not to surrender Abroad Melbourne, the city where the tennis tournament is held each year, was the epicenter of the second wave of the pandemic in Australia and recently emerged from months of lockdown.
The ATP Cup is also very threatened
Initially, Australian Tennis Federation chief executive – and Australian Open boss – Craig Tiley wanted players to arrive in the country in mid-December, so they could complete their 14-day quarantine beforehand. to participate in preparation tournaments for the Grand Slam. But this project was questioned by the Prime Minister of the State of Victoria, Dan Andrews, recalling that Melbourne had been at the heart of the second epidemic wave in Australia.
The head of the regional government would like the players to arrive only from the beginning of January, which would make it virtually impossible to hold the ATP Cup and several other preparation tournaments. On Sunday, Mr. Tiley said decisions about the Australian Open would be “soonThe issue of allowing players to train during their quarantine period continues to be discussed.
“We just have to be patient and accept the situation. It’s hard for everyone“said world number 2 Rafael Nadal on Saturday.”We need to be flexible and find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year“, added the Mallorcan.