Draw delayed after coronavirus case, but TA chief ‘absolutely confident Australian Open will go ahead’

Australian Open logo wiped at Melbourne Park

Australian Open Tournament Director and Tennis Australia (TA) Craig Tiley insists they have no intention of cancelling or changing the times of the Australian Open after a positive coronavirus case from a hotel worker.

More than 500 players, support staff and officials were told to self-isolate on Wednesday after an employee at their Melbourne hotel tested positive for COVID-19.

Australian Open chaos: Players told to self-isolate after positive COVID-19 test, warm-up matches suspended

Thursday’s scheduled matches at Melbourne Park were also suspended and players will have to test negative before they are allowed to play again.

The Australian Open, already delayed due to the strict quarantine restrictions Down Under, is due to start on Monday and Tiley insists it will continue as planned.

“We’re absolutely confident the Australian Open will go ahead,” he said. “We will be starting on Monday and we have no intention of changing times.”

He added: “We know that we have a period now where we have to work with those 507 players and their staff. The probability is very low that there’ll be an issue though.

“We expect them all to test negative. The plan is to continue to play [in the lead-up events] tomorrow as planned. If we have to go through this again, we’ll go through this again. We have thee and a half weeks of tennis to play and we’ll go as scheduled.”

The draw for the hard-court Grand Slam was due to take place on Thursday, but it has been pushed back by 24 hours with Friday set to be a busy day with several matches to get through.

“The draw was set for 6pm tonight (Thursday) but we’ve postponed it until tomorrow afternoon,” Tiley said.

“It will be a smaller version to what we’ve done before because the focus is to get the draw done and get it out there so everyone can start planning what they are doing Monday and who they are watching.”

He added: “We will make the decisions on which halves play where by Saturday as we’ve got to get through quite a few matches on Friday.”

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