Tennis: Organisers await government nod to allow players to train in Australian Open quarantine
MELBOURNE: Australian Open organisers said on Friday (Nov 27) that nothing regarding the quarantine for players arriving in the country for the Grand Slam had been decided yet despite a report in local media that competitors would be able to train while in self-isolation.
The Age newspaper reported that the men's governing body ATP has told the players that they would be allowed to train during their 14-day quarantine period ahead of the Australian Open.
A Tennis Australia spokesperson told Reuters that the organisers are still waiting for approvals from the Victoria state government for all details on the year's first Grand Slam, including those relating to practice during quarantine.
Organisers have been in lengthy discussions with authorities over the COVID-19 protocols to be established for those arriving in Australia ahead of the Melbourne Park tournament, which is slated to be held from Jan. 18-31.
State officials on Wednesday confirmed the Melbourne Park tournament would go ahead, though it would likely take place a week or two after the scheduled start date and that players would have to undergo quarantine.
Men's number one Novak Djokovic recently called on the authorities to ensure players are allowed to train during quarantine, while Russia's Daniil Medvedev said it would be "dangerous" to be confined to a hotel room for two weeks and then go straight into a Grand Slam.
Melbourne on Friday completed 28 days since the last reported locally-acquired case of novel coronavirus infection.
Due to border restrictions between states and varied quarantine requirements by local governments across the country, TA plans to shift all build-up tournaments for the Grand Slam to Victoria.
The report said the ATP Cup, the 24-nation men's event which made its debut this year in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney as a Grand Slam tune-up, would be cancelled in 2021 though other ATP and WTA lead-up events would go ahead.
ATP had no comment on the report but the governing body is expected to release the 2021 calendar in early December.
TA said a decision on the ATP Cup was yet to be taken and the organisers would only be able to finalise details of lead-up tournaments to the Australian Open once dates and quarantine details are finalised.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge)