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Australian Open set to start in February next year - reports

The first tennis Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, will start at the later date of 8...

Australian Open set to start i...
Other Sports

Australian Open set to start in February next year - reports

The first tennis Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, will start at the later date of 8 February according to reports in the Australian media.

The tournament was originally due to be played from 18-31 January and the possibility of it being cancelled had not been totally ruled out either.

However, a leaked email from the Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley, widely reported in Australia on Wednesday, seems to confirm that the start date for the 2021 edition of the competition has been pushed back by three weeks.

"It’s taken a while, but the great news is it looks like we are going to be able to hold the AO on Feb. 8,” the reports quoted Tiley as saying.

"Players will have to quarantine for two weeks from 15 January, but the Victorian Government has agreed to special conditions for AO participants - agreeing that they need to be able to prepare for a grand slam.

"There will be strict conditions, but after quarantine, players are free to stay where they want, go where they want, play lead-in matches and then compete in an AO in front of significant crowds in a great Melbourne atmosphere for the first time in many months."

(200201) -- MELBOURNE, Feb. 1, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Sofia Kenin of the United States celebrates her victory after the women's singles final against Garbine Muguruza of Spain at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia on Feb. 1, 2020. (Photo by Bai Xue/Xinhua)

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria where there has been no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in over a month after a nearly four-month hard lockdown to combat a second wave of infections.

In an official statement on the Tennis Australia website says that it is waiting on offical word from the Victoria government.

"Tennis Australia continues to work closely and productively with the Victorian Government and we are confident we will be in a position to finalise details for Australian Open 2021 very soon," reads the statement.

"We are also in constant communication with the global tennis community, including the Tours, the players and their teams, as we consult with them on plans for the event and how players can safely practise and prepare for a Grand Slam tournament under the Victorian Government’s proposed quarantine conditions.

"Understandably there has been public speculation on the various plans under consideration as well as the many confidential conversations that have taken place and our position remains clear - everything will require approval and agreement from the Victorian Government before it can be confirmed.

"The protection and safety of the community remains paramount in the discussions.

"Our team continues to work on delivering a fantastic – and safe - AO 2021 for the players, the fans, our partners and our staff. We look forward to announcing more details, including when tickets will go on sale, very soon."

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Australian Open Craig Tiley Sofia Kenin Tennis Australia