For years, the Australian summer has kicked off the tennis season. And last year, with the introduction of the ATP Cup, Australia was where all the top players started their season. Now, with the Australian Open 2021 a few months away, organizers are looking at staging the whole Australian summer tennis schedule at Melbourne. But quarantine and logistical issues are proving to be a great hassle.
Australian Open flag in Melbourne. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
Could the Australian Open move out of Melbourne?
This year, the ATP Cup was held in Australia across three cities and was a great season opener and a warm-up tournament prior to the Australian Open. With the pandemic still wreaking havoc, however, Tennis Australia might be forced to have all the tournaments in Melbourne.
With the Australian Open unlikely to move out of Melbourne, Tennis Australia is yet to make a clear decision on how and where tennis will be played in Australia in January.
Tennis Australia’s decision is dependent on how the state governments in Australia reform their quarantine rules. Players have called for relaxed quarantine rules. The 14-day mandatory quarantine that is in place right now will be taxing for the players, both mentally and physically.
If multiple states ease off with their quarantine rules, then Tennis Australia might have a multi-city tennis schedule for this Australian summer. If the restrictions remain harsh, then TA might have to create a bio-bubble in Melbourne for the entirety of the tennis schedule in Australia.
Also, players and organizers have to be assured by the various state governments of free travel between the states. This is highly essential to make a multi-city schedule possible.
Why is the 14-day quarantine a no-go for players?
Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge is against the idea of the 14-day quarantine for players. The multiple doubles Grand Slam champion finds it unfeasible and practically impossible for players’ fitness. He explains why it will not work for the players-
“They obviously can’t come down here and sit in a hotel for 14 days and come out and snap calves and hamstring and things like that. The players cannot prepare in that environment. “
With the 2020 season-ending soon, 2021 is being seen more positively by players and fans. Given the hardships faced due to the pandemic, everyone wants the situation to improve in 2021. Let’s see if Australian Open organizers can bring in a plan that retains excitement by keeping safety in mind.
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