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"Crunch time": Australian Open finalizing quarantine requirements
Meanwhile, the All England Club has begun planning for an adjusted 2021 Wimbledon edition.
Published Oct 17, 2020
The Australian Open is still in talks with state governments around quarantine requirements for the tournament, while reduced attendance is being considered for Wimbledon.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley says he is "confident" warmup events and the Australian Open will be played, but arrangements are still being made with governments at different levels.
"We completely accept that everyone coming from overseas has got to have two weeks in quarantine," Tiley was quoted as saying by AAP.
"What we are trying to have an agreement on, is that we set up a quarantine environment where they can train and go between the hotel and the courts in those two weeks."
The usual requirement that visitors stay in their rooms for quarantine would prevent players from being fit to play and prevent the Australian Open from going forward, according to Tiley.
"If a player has to quarantine and be stuck in a hotel for two weeks just before their season, that won’t happen," he said.
Tiley added that it is also "crunch time" for assurances around travel between different states in Australia, which is restricted currently. If players cannot travel, Tennis Australia would look at holding all events around Melbourne, Victoria, where the Australian Open is played.
"We need commitments from the governments and the health officers. We need to kind of know in the next two weeks, maybe a month, that this is what can happen," he said.
The Australian Open has also adjusted its plans for spectators. The tournament is now aiming for a quarter of its usual capacity, down from the half it would have liked.
"We can help the Victorian government, we can help the other governments—but we need help too," he said. "We need exemptions on bringing in 2,500 people."
The impact of having the event would still be significant, noted Tiley.
"We will invest millions of dollars into ensuring that they are safe from the community and the community is safe from them and we want to put an event out that our community can really enjoy and be proud of," he also told AAP. "The Australian Open will pump millions of dollars directly into the economy for Melbourne and Victoria and play a major role in accelerating the economic recovery in the state.
"This year alone the AO generated more than AU$387 million in economic benefit and created thousands of jobs."
As players competing in Australia will be required to quarantine, they could have to arrive Down Under by mid-December. Consequently, the $125K WTA event in Limoges, France, which is played during the final two weeks of the year, has been cancelled.
The Australian Open has notified players of the requirements.
Meanwhile, plans have begun for an adjusted version of Wimbledon.
"We are actively engaged in planning for next year’s Championships and are considering multiple operational scenarios at this point in time," said a statement from the All England Club.
It said the scenarios included a "full capacity" event, a "reduced capacity" event and also one with no fans on the grounds. The AEC cancelled this year's event, but unlike the French Open and US Open, had insurance for such cancellation.