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Sport Australian Open chief wants quarantine relaxed for players

08:05  15 october  2020
08:05  15 october  2020 Source:   ap.org

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The Australian Open will go on despite fears over smoke inhalation for players . Organisers insist the tournament will run smoothly despite issues on Novak Djokovic has previously said the tournament should not go ahead if the welfare of the players cannot be guaranteed with 'hazardous' air quality

Australia currently requires all international arrivals to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days, but The Sunday Telegraph reported the Coalition was considering halving quarantine times to one week for countries with low rates of Covid-19 infection, including Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley wants international tennis players arriving for the first Grand Slam tournament of 2021 to be exempt from the 14-day strict hotel quarantines that are mandatory now for inbound travelers.

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2020, file photo, Serbia's Novak Djokovic holds his trophy after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's singles final of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2020, file photo, Serbia's Novak Djokovic holds his trophy after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's singles final of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Tiley on Thursday said he remains “absolutely” confident the Australian Open will go ahead as planned at Melbourne Park from Jan. 18-31, along with lead-up events including the men's ATP Cup and tournaments in Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart.

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Australia 's tough new coronavirus measures mean even Australians returning from overseas are sent into mandatory 14-day quarantine . From midnight, March 28, all Australian travelers returning from overseas have been forced into two-week quarantine –in a luxury hotel.

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy was asked on the ABC's Insiders program this morning if Australia was considering lockdown measures similar to those in Europe. "It is a potential that could be the case, but that may be focal," he said. "One of the things we know about outbreaks of infections is

He said he is counting on Australia’s state and federal governments to relax border restrictions and grant special approval for players to go into a bio-secure training bubble, similar to what the U.S. Open and French Open did recently, to prepare for the tournament but remain isolated from the public.

FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2020, file photo, Rajeev Ram, right, of the U.S. and partner Britain's Joe Salisbury hold their trophy after defeating Australia's Max Purcell and Luke Saville in the men's doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2020, file photo, Rajeev Ram, right, of the U.S. and partner Britain's Joe Salisbury hold their trophy after defeating Australia's Max Purcell and Luke Saville in the men's doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

“If a player has to ... be stuck in a hotel for two weeks just before their season, that 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.”

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FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2020, file photo, Sofia Kenin, of the United States, kisses her trophy after defeating Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2020, file photo, Sofia Kenin, of the United States, kisses her trophy after defeating Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

Roger Federer and Serena Williams, both of whom will turn 40 in 2021, have already committed to playing in Australia but Tiley said players simply won’t show up if they're not allowed to prepare properly.

“We completely accept that everyone coming from overseas has got to have two weeks in quarantine,” Tiley said, but “what we are negotiating, or what we’re trying to have an agreement on, is that we set up a quarantine environment where they can train and go between the hotel and the courts in those two weeks.”

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Australia 's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said states have the power to keep people quarantined until they get tested. "The evidence remains that we're not seeing cases in our community that — for want of a better word — have leaked out of hotel quarantine .

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In this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 image provided by the French Tennis Federation FFT, Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy in the locker room after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France. (FFT/Julien Crosnier via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 image provided by the French Tennis Federation FFT, Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy in the locker room after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France. (FFT/Julien Crosnier via AP)

At the U.S. Open and French Open, players weren’t required to quarantine but instead had to operate in a bio-secure bubble and undergo regular COVID-19 tests before being allowed to compete. Players wore masks between matches at Roland Garros, where Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in the men's final last weekend.

Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses his wife, left, and family members as he celebrates winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic in three sets, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) © Provided by Associated Press Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses his wife, left, and family members as he celebrates winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic in three sets, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Tiley said preparations for the Australian Open are “getting to crunch time now."

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From midday on Tuesday Australians were no longer able to travel to Europe, with an initial EU ban in place for 30 days. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is meeting the national cabinet on Tuesday evening, with new precautionary measures likely to be announced on Wednesday.

The PM wants you to avoid travel that’s ‘not part of your normal life’. We drill down into the detail.

“We need commitments from the governments and the health officers,” he said. “We need to kind of know in the next two weeks, maybe a month, that this is what can happen: borders are going to open and then we can have a multi-city event.

“If we cannot have a multi-city event, we’ve got to reconsider everything.”

Melbourne has been one of Australia's hardest-hit cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. A second wave of the coronavirus forced a overnight curfews and a six-week lockdown for its 5 million residents. Still, organizers are planning to have spectators at the Australian Open — up to 50% of capacity — with social distancing regulations in place.

Poland's Iga Swiatek, right, holds the trophy after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Sofia Kenin of the U.S., left, in two sets 6-4, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) © Provided by Associated Press Poland's Iga Swiatek, right, holds the trophy after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Sofia Kenin of the U.S., left, in two sets 6-4, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

If state borders aren’t re-opened, Tiley didn’t rule out the ATP Cup and potentially other tournament being held in Melbourne, just as the Cincinnati hard-court tournament was staged at Flushing Meadows before the U.S. Open.

“Anything is possible right now,” Tiley said. “Everything is still on the table.”

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