Australian Open 2021 likely to start on February 8
The 2021 Australian Open is likely to start from February 8 onwards. The players have been cleared to train during quarantine following lengthy negotiations with state authorities. According to Australian media, the start date of 2021's first Grand Slam event was announced to players by tournament director Craig Tiley. The Grand Slam event in 2020 had earlier not been impacted by COVID-19.
AO could be held from February 8 onwards
Tennis Australia has been in protracted talks with Victoria state authorities in Melbourne, which only emerged from a months-long lockdown in October following a second wave of coronavirus cases. "It's taken a while, but the great news is it looks like we are going to be able to hold the AO (Australian Open) on 8 February," Tiley was quoted in a leaked letter.
Tennis Australia did not confirm the report
Tennis Australia did not confirm the reports on Wednesday, and said plans were still awaiting approval from the state government. A February 8 start date would allow for a week of warm-up tournaments after quarantine. However, that would likely mean scrapping the flagship ATP Cup men's team event due to a lack of time.
'Players will have to quarantine for two weeks'
"Players will have to quarantine for two weeks from January 15, 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," the letter read.
Safety measures are being focused on
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews earlier said he remained committed to holding the Australian Open. However, he stated that safety was paramount. "Unlike every other tennis tournament that the men's and women's tours will play this year, only the Australian Open is a tennis tournament in a city where it can likely be assumed that those players will bring the virus here," he told reporters.