Sydney, Oct 16 (SocialNews.XYZ) The Australian Open will only go ahead as planned in 2021 if players could be exempt from the 14-day strict hotel quarantines now in place for inbound passengers, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley has said.
Melbourne remains locked down after a second spike in cases of the novel coronavirus and everyone arriving in Australia must now quarantine for 14 days in a hotel at their own expense.
While admitting preparations for the Australian Open are "getting to crunch time", Tiley said he remains confident the Australian Open will go ahead at Melbourne Park from January 18 to 23, along with lead-up events including the multi-city ATP Cup.
He said he is counting on Australia's state and federal governments to relax border restrictions and grant special approval for players to train in a bio-secure bubble, similar to approaches used in the US Open and French Open.
"If a player is stuck in a hotel for two weeks just before their season starts, it won't happen", Tiley told the Australian Associated Press.
"You can't ask players to quarantine for two weeks and then step out and be ready to play a grand slam", he added.
"We fully accept that anyone who comes from overseas must have two weeks in quarantine", Tiley said.
He cited the examples of the United States and French Open, where players weren't required to quarantine but they were in a bio-secure bubble. The players wore masks between games at Roland Garros, where Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in the men's final last weekend.
At the US Open and French Open, players did not have to be quarantined, but had to work in a bio-safe bubble and undergo regular COVID-19 tests before being allowed to participate.
"We need commitments from the governments and the health officers".
"If we can not have a multi-city event, we've got to reconsider everything".
Melbourne is one of the hardest COVID-hit cities in Australia. A second wave of the coronavirus forced a overnight curfews and a six-week lockdown for its 5 million residents. With the current guidelines in place, Australian Open is planning to have spectators up to 50 per cent capacity in the arena.
If state lines don't reopen, Tiley hasn't ruled out the ATP Cup and possibly other tournaments in Melbourne, such as the Cincinnati hard court tournament held at Flushing Meadows prior to the US Open.
Tiley said that they would have to "reconsider everything" if multi-city events can not be staged. "Everything is still on the table".
Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley is shown in this photo.
Poland's Iga Swiatek, right, holds the trophy after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Sofia Kenin of the US, left, in two sets 6-4, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.