Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley has responded to reports the Australian Open could be delayed until as late as March or April.
Aussie tennis commentator Brett Phillips revealed on SEN radio on Saturday that the event will almost certainly be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“It’s chaos, it’s delicate discussions, it’s crazy,” Phillips said.
“It’s incredible times for TA. I’d hate to be a TA administrator or a sports administrator full stop in 2020.
“There’s breaking news by the hour with the Australian Open.
“My strong feeling, just on the situation that’s happened in Victoria in the past seven or eight months and our Premier, who’s taken a fair bit of criticism for the whole hotel quarantine bungle, is that they’re taking a very cautious approach.
“I’ve just got a very strong feeling that the Australian Open is going to be pushed back possibly to March or April. This is certainly one of the scenarios that was on the table, it was talked about.
“There’s no doubt the Australian Open won’t happen on its scheduled date. It’s just a matter of whether they move it back a week or do they push it back to March, April.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews isn’t sure exactly when the Open, which is scheduled to start on January 18, will be held as the government works on the delicate quarantine process for the players and their entourages - an estimated 2500 people.
Tennis Australia responds to speculation
Tiley on Sunday released a statement saying TA was “doing everything we can to finalise the summer of tennis as soon as possible”.
“Our intention is to deliver a summer in conditions that allow the players to prepare and perform at their best and the fans to enjoy their efforts - all in an environment that is safe for all concerned,” he said.
“We are working closely with the Victorian Government on a plan that takes into account the needs of the players, fans, our partners and staff, and is of major benefit to the Victorian and Australian economies.
“We are continuing our urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and are confident we will have decisions soon.”
Tiley said TA was “acutely aware” of the need for certainty but also conscious of reaching a solution with the state government that ensures the safety of the entire community.
“We look forward to announcing our ticket on-sale date as soon as all arrangements with the relevant authorities are finalised and we have more information on crowd sizes,” he said.
“We anticipate this on-sale date will be within the next two weeks.
"We can't wait for the summer and look forward to bringing you more detail as soon as we possibly can.”
Planning for the Open has been thrown into chaos due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The major stumbling block is the Victorian government’s reported stance of not allowing incoming players to arrive until January 1.
That would give them just a handful of days to prepare for the tournament after serving their mandatory two-week quarantine period.
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