Coronavirus: Tennis Australia preparing for 2021 Australian Open

By Sports Desk May 09, 2020

Tennis Australia (TA) chief executive and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said preparations are underway for next year's grand slam to be held in Melbourne amid coronavirus concerns.

During the week, Tiley conceded the 2021 Australian Open could be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally.

Both the ATP and WTA Tours are suspended until at least mid-July as a result of the coronavirus crisis – Wimbledon has already been cancelled for 2020, while the French Open has been pushed back to September amid uncertainty over the Roland Garros and US Open events.

Speaking on Sunday, Tiley said the tournament has drafted contingency plans, though he is confident the Australian Open will be in a "positive position" come January.

"It's very uncertain times as we all know well. We are preparing for multiple futures. We don't know what January will bring," Tiley told Channel Nine's Wide World of Sports.

"At this point today, we are preparing for an Australian Open, with finding a way to get our 500 internationals into Australia. At the same time, hopefully we have fans. Likely, at least it will be Australia-New Zealand fans in the first instance.

"Seven months is a long time away but we are planning for an Australian Open. We also have to plan for the scenario of players only and no crowds, and also the possibility of moving it or not having it at all."  

"We are planning an Australian Open with all the players and with Australian, and likely, New Zealand crowds as a starting point," he added. "We'll have some guidelines for social distancing."

There have been more than four million confirmed cases across the world, with over 280,400 deaths.

In Australia, 97 people have succumbed to the virus as the country starts to relax lockdown measures.

Related items

  • Tuchel 'worried' as France goes back into lockdown due to coronavirus Tuchel 'worried' as France goes back into lockdown due to coronavirus

    Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel admitted he was "worried" after France went back into lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

    France headed into lockdown on Friday, when the country reported 49,215 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 545 deaths.

    Like sport around the world, Ligue 1 was suspended in March due to coronavirus, but the 2020-21 season is set to continue despite the wave of infections.

    Tuchel said he was concerned, but added he had become accustomed to being regularly tested for COVID-19.

    "We are not just professional players or coaches. We are human beings. These are big changes that influence everyone. We are worried like everyone else," he said.

    "It is our challenge and our responsibility to adapt to all the rules. We trust [French president Emmanuel] Macron and [German chancellor Angela] Merkel. That is a certainty. We have to do this together, it's our obligation.

    "We will accept all the rules and we will adapt. Here we are going through a lot of [COVID-19] tests.

    "It's almost a habit for me to have something in my nose. It has become a habit almost every morning."

    Ligue 1 leaders PSG visit Nantes on Saturday.

  • Donnarumma cleared for return ahead of Milan's trip to Udinese Donnarumma cleared for return ahead of Milan's trip to Udinese

    Milan are set to be boosted by the return of Gianluigi Donnarumma after the goalkeeper tested negative for coronavirus.

    Donnarumma, 21, missed a Serie A draw against Roma and Thursday's Europa League victory over Sparta Prague after contracting COVID-19.

    The goalkeeper, though, could return as soon as Sunday's trip to Udinese after Milan confirmed the Italy international had tested negative.

    Milan also announced Jens Petter Hauge and Matteo Gabbia had tested negative, though the latter will undergo further screening on Sunday.

    "Gianluigi Donnarumma and Jens Petter Hauge, who had been asymptomatic, have tested negative following further testing," a Milan statement read on Friday.

    "The local health authorities have been informed and both players are authorised to return to training."

    Milan have made a fine start to the Serie A season, sitting top of the table after winning four and drawing one of their first five games.

    Donnarumma has a 90.9 save percentage in four league games in 2020-21. His best in a Serie A campaign is 76.4 in 2016-17.

  • Djokovic wins just three games in shock defeat to Sonego at Vienna Open Djokovic wins just three games in shock defeat to Sonego at Vienna Open

    World number one Novak Djokovic is out of the Vienna Open after a shock 6-2 6-1 quarter-final defeat to unfancied Lorenzo Sonego.

    Ranked 42 in the world, Sonego had failed to win a single set in his three previous meetings with players inside the top 10.

    But the 25-year-old Italian produced a scintillating performance against the top seed as he became the first lucky loser to beat Djokovic.

    "It's unbelievable. It's amazing," Sonego said in an interview on court after wrapping up the win in 68 minutes.

    "For sure, it's the best victory of my life. Novak is the best in the world. I played so, so good."

    Djokovic's surprise exit at the Wiener Stadthalle meant the Serbian missed the opportunity to guarantee top spot in the year-end ATP Rankings this week.

    The 33-year-old is still poised, however, to tie Pete Sampras' record of six year-end number one finishes unless Rafael Nadal takes up an unlikely wildcard for next month's Sofia Open, with reports indicating the Spaniard has already rejected such an opportunity.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.