Australian Open 2021 - Draw delayed but organisers 'absolutely confident' tournament will go ahead
The draw for the year’s first Grand Slam has been postponed from Thursday to Friday, but tournament director Craig Tiley has said he remains "absolutely confident" that the 2021 Australian Open will still go ahead as planned on Monday. That is despite the detection of a Covid-19 case in a hotel quarantine worker at a facility linked to the tennis.
CEO Craig Tiley of Tennis Australia talks during a press conference of Victoria Premier Andrews in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday 04 February 2021. All matches at several Summer Series tournaments and the ATP Cup have been suspended
Thursday's warm-up matches at Melbourne Park were called off after the case was announced late on Wednesday, and those who underwent quarantine at the Grand Hyatt hotel were instructed to get tested and isolate until they had a result.
In addition, the eagerly-anticipated draw for the year’s first major tournament had to be put back from Thursday to Friday.
Tournament director Craig Tiley has said the 507 people affected, 160 of them players, would have their tests completed by late Thursday afternoon and expressed his confidence over sticking to the schedule despite the setback.
"This does give us three days for the lead-in events to be completed," Tiley said.
We're absolutely confident the Australian Open will go ahead. We are starting on Monday.
"The probability is very low that there'll been issue. We expect them all to test negative. The plan is to continue to play tomorrow as planned."
If the results all come back negative, the players would be free to participate in the six warm-up events at Melbourne Park - the site of the Australian Open main draw - to allow them to get some match practice after 14 days in quarantine.
Victoria state health officials also said the testing of the tennis cohort was purely precautionary.
"We think the risk to other guests in the hotel - tennis players and their accompanying staff - is relatively low," Professor Allen Cheng said.
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State Premier Dan Andrews has made it clear that the safety of the community is paramount and said there were "no guarantees" the Australian Open would go ahead.
"At this stage, the tennis shouldn't be impacted by this," Andrews said. "These things can change (but) this has been a textbook response to this."