Australian Open organizers are planning five scenarios for holding the event, which includes crowds at half-capacity and moving the event further into the year.
"I’m optimistic and positive that we’ll have an event and it’ll be in Melbourne," Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley told Reuters. "It will have some crowds and it’ll be the beginning of kind of getting back to the way we were."
Under the first scenario, the tournament would be held more or less as usual, while under the more likely second scenario, there would be crowds of up to 400,000 for the two-week event—around half of normal attendance.
Tiley also spoke of plans for arranging secure facilities where players can practice and play for two months, avoiding Australia's strict entry requirements.
“We’re going to open our bio-bubble from the first of December, and players can come at any time," he said. “When the players arrive, our expectation is they’re not going to be in a hotel for 14 days like the current requirements are. We’ll have an exemption within this bio-secure bubble."
There is also a third scenario with no crowds, and then moving the tournament if required. The other potential dates include March-April, or September-October, though Tiley has said any change will be discussed and agreed on with the ATP and WTA tours.
"And scenario five is no event at all," he said.
The tournament prize money of AU$71 million should not change if the event is played.
The Australian state of Victoria, where the Grand Slam competition is played, recently had a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, imposing a six-week restriction of public activity.
The Australian hardcourt season also has several warmup events, including a WTA event in Brisbane, the ATP Cup and others. Plans for such events have not been announced.