MELBOURNE, Australia: The Australian Open and all the regular interstate leadup tournaments for the seasons first tennis major will be staged in Melbourne in January in a bid to minimize risks for players traveling and quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia’s international borders are restricted, and there is still differing domestic traveling restrictions between states.
Tennis Australia said logistics, including draw sizes and scheduling, were being worked through for the weeks ahead of the Australian Open, which is due to start Jan. 18.
Some professional sports competitions in Australia, including the National Rugby League, the Australian Football League and Super Rugby, went ahead with some players living and playing in bio-secure hubs during the season.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told the Herald-Sun newspaper that organizing the tennis was different because we are bringing in a lot of international people and their entourage so weve got to ensure they stay on a very rigid, tough lockdown.
Tiley said moving all tournaments and players to Victoria state would mean that late changes to interstate travel restrictions would have no impact on the tournament.
It will be a similar buildup to that of the U.S. Open, the first of the tennis majors held after the global sports shutdown for the coronavirus, when the Cincinnati tournament was moved to New York ahead of the Grand Slam event.
Australian Open organizers are hoping the Victoria state government will allow spectators at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open. At this stage, the state government is allowing a crowd of up to 25% capacity at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Australia vs. India test match starting Dec. 26.
More AP tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor