The Australian Open is the first grand slam of the year that usually takes place in January. However, it is looking rather uncertain that the 2021 Australian Open will take place on the scheduled date of Jan 18.
The Australian Open takes place in Melbourne, Victoria could be pushed back to early Feb although no official confirmation has been made as of now.
COVID-19 caused a major impact to the state of Victoria which went into serious lockdown mode for a number of weeks. Victoria is slowly getting back to normal but the COVID-19 threat has not been erased completely. The big question is whether Victoria is ready to host a two week long tournament and start accepting international visitors.
The question of international travel has been answered as Victoria has started to accept international visitors. However, the bigger question is what happens if and when Victoria starts registering lots of COVID-19 positive results from international travellers. Will the state close its borders or go into another lockdown.
It’s hard to tell and this uncertainty is what is troubling Australian Open organizers. Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia said that they were in talks with the Australian government and were keen to finalize on an official start date soon in order to enable players to make plans and know what to expect when they arrive in Melbourne.
Players Will Be Subjected To Two Week Quarantine
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, players who show up for the Australian Open will have to show up well in advance as they will most likely be subject to the two week quarantine process. Tennis Australia is still in the process of finalizing quarantine protocols and biosecurity arrangements with the Victorian government in order to protect all of the players, staff and fans.
The Victorian government has admitted that this wasn’t a straightforward decision as there were so many factors to consider. One big factor is that the state government benefits significantly from hosting the Australia Open which is reported to have generated $387.7 million to the government in 2020.
There are reports that based on the COVID-19 restrictions that are likely to be imposed; the Victorian government will see revenues drop by fifty percent. It will also be interesting to see if the top players in the world travel to Australia or decide to skip the Australian Open due to COVID-19 concerns.