The 2021 Australian Open will reportedly get underway on February 8, according to an email obtained by the Herald Sun which was sent by Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley.
Players will enter two weeks of quarantine in Melbourne from January 15, where they will be allowed to train on the condition of providing a negative coronavirus test.
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Once quarantine has been completed, players will be allowed to travel and stay wherever they please for the duration of their visit.
The Herald Sun reported on Wednesday evening that Tiley had sent an email confirming the tournament was all but certain to go ahead from the postponed date.
“It’s taken a while, but the great news is it looks like we are going to be able to hold the AO on 8 February,” Tiley said in the email.
“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.”
The email sent by Tiley is believed to have been delivered to players, agents and other management personnel.
Tiley also confirmed the entire $71 million prize purse would be up for grabs, and that Tennis Australia would foot the bill for players to quarantine.
Australian Open date confirmed for February 2021
Tennis Australia is set to take a significant financial hit to host the tournament, but Tiley said it would be worth it to prevent world tennis from ‘atrophy’.
He also went on to say it would be a fitting way to show off Melbourne’s recovery from the second wave outbreak of the coronavirus earlier this year, which resulted in a second lockdown being enforced in the state and state borders closed.
“As mentioned, to remain solvent we are going to have to take a large loan and line of credit. But we think it is critical for global tennis, the player group and the fans that the AO proceeds to help stave off any potential atrophy in our sport.
“Amid so much ongoing global uncertainty, we think the clean bill of health in Melbourne is a unique opportunity for our sport, players and fans to show the world tennis is alive and full of hope and promise regardless of the pandemic.”
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