25 Nov 2020

Australian Tennis Open set to be delayed

4:52 pm on 25 November 2020

The Australian Open is set to be delayed by a week or more as negotiations between organisers, the tennis tours and the Victoria government over health measures continue.

Tennis Australia had dismissed as "speculation" a report that the first grand slam of the year would be moved back from its scheduled January 18th start but Victorian Sports and Tourism Minister Martin Pakula has 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."

"But it's not the only option. As you know, the French Open was delayed by many months and Wimbledon didn't occur at all. I still think it's much more likely that it will be a shorter rather than longer delay," said Pakula.

Victoria's Premier Dan Andrews, is confident the tournament will go ahead but that players would have to undergo quarantine.

"We'll have an Australian Open tennis tournament ... but (it'll) have to look different," Andrews said.

Roger Federer has won the Australian Tennis Open in Melbourne six times.

Roger Federer has won the Australian Tennis Open in Melbourne six times. Photo: Photosport

"The rest of the world is on fire so there will be quarantine for anyone coming to our city and state, there's just no way around it. I think the timing will be close to the normal timing, those details are being finalised.

"As important as a tennis tournament is, we're not going to jeopardise our coronavirus status by anything other than the highest standards."

Negotiations with health authorities over the details of that quarantine were close to a conclusion, Pakula said.

"The quarantine requirements will be those that are ultimately agreed with the public health (authorities) and then it will be a matter for the ATP and the WTA about whether or not they are acceptable," he added.

"An extremely rigorous testing regime will apply to the players both before they leave the port that they come in from and when they arrive."

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement on Sunday he was confident he would be able announce the details of the health measures "soon".