Australian Open organisers scrambling to finalise preparations for players
Australian Open organisers are scrambling to finalise preparations for the arrival of the players in Melbourne next week.
The hard work appeared to have been done when Tennis Australia announced last month that the tournament would start on February 8, with players arriving from January 15 before completing a two-week quarantine.
A deal had been agreed for players and their support teams to stay at The Westin hotel in central Melbourne during their quarantine, with training periods allowed every day.
But that contract has now been torn up after several penthouse owners at the hotel raised objections to the arrangement, claiming they had not been consulted.
Organisers have moved swiftly to find a replacement, with a statement on Tuesday reading: “The AO team has been working closely with COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria on suitable quarantine hotel options in Melbourne.
“Several hotels in Melbourne have already been secured, including a replacement for the Westin, to safely accommodate the international playing group and their team members as well as allow for them to properly prepare for the first grand slam of the year.
“The health and safety of everyone is our top priority.”
Another issue has been getting the players to Australia, with the tournament chartering flights from the Middle East and the USA.
These have yet to be finalised, with tournament director Craig Tiley writing on Twitter: “There have been some unavoidable delays finalising flight details for players and I’d like to take this opportunity to provide an update.
“There are a lot of pieces to this logistical puzzle and the last few are being finalised right now.
“We will have as many as 18 planes and each will be limited to 20 per cent capacity to ensure the flights are as safe as possible for everyone.
“We appreciate your patience and are conscious that timelines are very tight. We are doing our utmost to get the flight details to the entire playing group as soon as possible. Thank you for bearing with us, we will get everyone to Melbourne.”
Qualifying for the tournament has been moved to Doha and Dubai and will begin on January 10.
WATCH – The 53-shot rally that summed up a stunning Djokovic v Zverev US Open semi-final
Playing out some epic rallies with Djokovic, their 53-shot exchange (below) was a highlight that brought the New York crowd to their feet.
Early video footage of Emma Raducanu highlights her prodigious talents
Raducanu has become a quickfire sensation in the tennis world after her stunning run to the US Open final.
Marion Bartoli tips Emma Raducanu to win multiple grand slam titles
The former Wimbledon champion has backed the Briton to reach the top of the game.
Network UK television coverage for Emma Raducanu’s US Open final as Channel 4 share with Amazon
A deal with Amazon Prime is understood to be seven figures.
Novak Djokovic: ‘I’m going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career’
Novak Djokovic is one victory away from a record 21st title.
Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka highlight ‘fearless’ Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez’s key qualities
Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka on the two teen sensations.
US Open day 12: Novak Djokovic on the brink of history, royal well wishes for Emma Raducanu and more
The story of the 12th day of action from Flushing Meadows.
Emma Raducanu to face Leylah Fernandez as both bid for teenage dream US Open win
It’s Emma Raducanu vs Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final.
Novak Djokovic after edging closer to history at US Open: ‘There is only one match left. All in. Let’s do it.’
Novak Djokovic will take on Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.
Daniil Medvedev beats Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach US Open final, but admits ‘it was a strange match’
The Russian second seed claimed an impressive three-set victory.