Australian Open is facing a delay of at most one or two weeks as talks continue between Tennis Australia and the Victoria government. The talks between the two parties are mostly regarding health concerns and measures. However, there is no tentative date yet confirmed by Tennis Australia.
Speaking to media (via Sportstar) on November 26, Victorian Sports and Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said, “There’s a number of potential dates on the table. I’ve seen reports that suggest that it’s likely to be delayed by a week or two. I think that’s still most likely.” Pakula refused to give a fixed date as he pointed towards the changes in schedule French Open made due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s Premier Dan Andrews is confident that the tournament will go through in January. However, he admitted that strict health guidelines will have to be followed and the players may have to undergo hard quarantine rules before the start of the tournament. The tennis players face at least 14 day strict quarantine after entering the continent.
The pandemic had cancelled the Wimbledon event in 2020. The U.S Open did take place, but numerous high-profile players such as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were not part of it. After a lot of delays, French Open also went ahead behind closed doors at the end of September.
Australian Open is the first of the big grand slams of the year. Since there is a fear of the second wave of coronavirus, the tournament organizing committee will have to take extra precautions to make sure that Grand Slam goes ahead smoothly. There are more than two months left for the event, but a definitive decision regarding the schedule needs to come sooner rather than later, so the organizing committee and players start preparing for the tournament.