Tennis Australia now plans to hold its entire Australian swing in Melbourne, but the state government of Victoria warns it is still assessing the quarantine arrangements for players.
While warmup events had originally been scheduled in various locations like Brisbane and Sydney, Tennis Australia had said it would have to move all competition to Melbourne unless it received guarantees from state governments that players would be allowed to travel within the country.
But Dan Andrews, the premier of the Australian state of Victoria, said there were still significant steps required before plans are approved.
"The notion that this is all tied up with a bow, it's a done deal. That's simply wrong," he was quoted as saying by the Melbourne Age. "The public health team need to sign off on all of these arrangements. And they are just not settled.
"It's an important event. Absolutely. But avoiding a third wave is arguably even more important, but we'll keep working through those issues. I think we can have the event go ahead, but it's going to have to look different."
Tennis Australia is looking to substitute Australia's required two weeks of hotel quarantine with a bubble that allows players to train together at a shared facility.
While some international sports competition, like cricket, have been approved, Andrews noted that the Australian Open involves larger numbers.
"But the thing about the cricket is, compared to the tennis, it's a tiny group of people that we think we can quarantine. The challenges involved in the Australian Open are very, very different," he said.
Tennis Australia's CEO, Craig Tiley, has said it is looking to bring in 2,500 people—which includes players, their teams, and other personnel. Speaking to the Melbourne Age, he said Tennis Australia was spending AU$33 million on quarantine arrangements.
Holding events in Melbourne only will require reducing the size and number of events, but Tiley has offered to have more ATP and WTA tournaments following the Australian Open.
The Australian Open is unlikely to make a profit under current conditions, he added.
"It's going to be painful. We are... investing in the event," he said.
The ATP Cup and WTA events in Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart are affected by the changes.