Sport Australian Open 2021: Aus Open most likely to be delayed one week

03:50  25 november  2020
03:50  25 november  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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The longer the Australian Open is delayed the better, says a leading sports economist. ‘The later the better,’ says one sports economist. Delayed 2021 tournament increasingly likely . “We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next

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The start of the 2021 Australian Open is likely to be pushed back by a week or two as negotiations between the Victorian government and Tennis Australia continue.

The tournament was scheduled to begin on January 18, with Tennis Australia recently announcing the entire summer of tennis will be played in Victoria.

Discussions between various stakeholders is ongoing, with Victoria's Sport and Major Events Minister Martin Pakula hinting that the first grand slam of the year will inevitably be delayed.

"We've got obviously a huge amount of complexity in negotiating with both Tennis Australia but also with the ATP and the WTA," Pakula said.

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Australian Open boss Craig Tiley said the 2021 edition will have to take place in Melbourne. Venues in Sydney and Brisbane do not have the necessary capacity. "It's difficult to predict exactly what will need to be in place as guidelines and protocols are changing week by week , and sometimes even

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"And then there's the conversations with the Department of Health and Human Services and Justice.

"So it's a very complicated set of conversations. I'm still confident we'll have an Australian Open and we'll have one in the early part of the year."

Speaking on Sunrise, on Wednesday, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews conceded the tournament will be pushed back, but hadn't settled on a date.

"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," he said.

"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.

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Next season's Australian Open was shrouded in further uncertainty after players were told to delay their departures for Melbourne. Tournament organisers have been warned that participants should not arrive until at least January 1 before they can begin an obligatory two week quarantine.

"I still think it's much more likely that it will be a shorter rather than longer delay.

"I don't want to unduly repeat myself but these are very complex negotiations."

In mid-November, Tennis Australian announced that the entire summer of tennis will be played in Victoria as the game adapts to new realities under COVID-19.

The unprecedented decision will see tournaments normally held in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart all played at various venues around Melbourne.

Under the new rules and regulations, all players arriving in Australia will be required to enter quarantine or a "bubble" although the details are still being finalised.

It's understood the quarantining of players and entourages is one of many issues still being discussed.

"The exact nature of that quarantine, whether or not it's their own bubble, or something more common, is still part of those conversations," Pakula said.

"But I'm not going to conduct those conversations and negotiations in the public domain. They're very intricate but I think we can be very close to a conclusion.

"You can speculate until the cows come home about exactly what quarantine requirements will be in place. It's not particularly helpful.

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

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