Australian Open in ‘great shape’ as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Serena Williams sign up
The world’s top 100 men’s and women’s players have all “indicated a desire to travel” and participate in the 2021 Australian Open, according to tournament director Craig Tiley.
Australia seems to have brought the second wave of the coronavirus under control, but strict health and safety measures are still expected to be in place for next year’s hard-court Grand Slam, which is due to start on 18 January.
Some of those measures include players being forced to quarantine for 14 days, but officials hope they will be allowed to use practice courts during that period.
Tournament director and Tennis Australia chief executive Tiley says the world’s best players, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Ashleigh Barty have all communicated that they plan to play Down Under.
“Everyone had to complete a travel commitment form and that is a precursor to getting visas, which are now being processed by the immigration department,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“All of the top 100 men and women have completed that. Everyone has indicated a desire to travel. If we announce tomorrow that they have to quarantine for 28 days or that they have to sit in a hotel room for 14 days, that will change.
“The current presentation we made to the players… has been very positive in the sense they have all signed up. Federer and Nadal are on 20 Grand Slams each, you have Serena wanting to break Margaret Court’s record and you have Ash [Barty] trying to keep her No 1 ranking. As far as player participation is concerned, we are in great shape.”
Tennis Australia hopes to make a decision by 13 November on all tournaments that will take place next year, but there are still question marks the multi-city ATP Cup that has been penciled in for 4 January.
“We’ve said for us to make that decision there are two conditions we need,” Tiley said. “Condition one is that we need our quarantining plans approved. Condition two is we need to have some assurances from government that we’ll be able to travel freely from state to state, which we still don’t have as you can appreciate with some borders closed.
“Those are two difficult things that we need to get. By the end of next week, or maybe the week after, we’re going to have to move to a one-city only event. Right now I’d say it’s 50-50. If NSW says, ‘regardless of the infection rate or if there’s a rise we’ll give you an exemption’, that’s what we need.”
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