Victoria sports minister Martin Pakula said on Wednesday that the Australian Open 2021 might get delayed by “a week or two” due to the coronavirus crisis in the state, sports minister Martin Pakula said.
The first Grand Slam of the year is scheduled to be played between January 18-31 with Tennis Australia assuring that the tournament will be held on time next year.
But Victoria sports and tourism minister Pakula said negotiations between various levels of governments and tennis officials were close to a conclusion and that the season-opening Grand Slam is likely to 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. 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,” Pakula said Wednesday.
Negotiations with health authorities over the details of that quarantine were close to a conclusion, Pakula said.
“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 added.
“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.”
Victoria’s Premier Dan Andrews, who on Wednesday celebrated the state’s 25th day without a new COVID-19 case, said he was confident the tournament would go ahead but that players would have to undergo quarantine.
“We’ll have an Australian Open tennis tournament … but (it’ll) have to look different. The rest of the world is on fire so there will be quarantine for anyone coming to our city and state, there’s just no way around it. I think the timing will be close to the normal timing, those details are being finalised.
“As important as a tennis tournament is, we’re not going to jeopardise our coronavirus status by anything other than the highest standards,” Andrews said.