Tennis Australia, the country’s federation and owner and organizer of the Open, will schedule all of its summer tournaments in the run-up to the Australian Open in the southern state of Victory due to COVID-19.
Victoria, which hosts the first Grand Slam of the year in the state capital, Melbourne, will also host the ATP Cup by country and other tournaments that are usually located in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart.
The head of Tennis Australia, Craig tiley, said the governing body had taken an unprecedented step because other Australian states could not guarantee player quarantine arrangements or guarantee a “commitment to open travel between cities.”
“Now it’s a matter of working with the Victorian government on how the quarantine will be done, ensuring the safety of the community and then, of course, the safety of the players coming,” Tiley told the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper.
“Now there is no risk that the Australian Open will go ahead without everyone being in Victoria, a guarantee that we did not have otherwise.”
In addition, Tiley assured that tennis players will be able to train and compete in a biosecure bubble during a two-week quarantine in Melbourne, but they would be free to move around Victoria and mingle with the fans after completing their mandatory isolation.
“So the Australian Open will be played in an open environment with the players moving freely, as well as the fans, with at least 25 percent of the audience that normally comes,” Tiley said.
Once the epicenter of a second wave of COVID-19 in the middle of the year, Victoria has logged 17 consecutive days with no new cases after an extreme four-month lockdown.
TA hopes that the current crowd limit of 25% in stadiums can be improved if the favorable trend continues.
He said TA was considering hosting some of the summer tournaments in the regional cities of Victoria like Bendigo and Traralgon, subject to the approval of the authorities.