Details of Australian Open quarantine emerge amid vaccine debate
A day after tennis star Andy Murray hinted that quarantine arrangements for the Australian Open in 2022 would look radically different for vaccinated players, more light has been shed on a potential plan.
Players travelling from overseas for the 2021 Australian Open were universally required to complete two weeks of hotel quarantine, with limited time available to train on court until that period was completed.
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However Murray, in a wide-ranging press conference following his controversial loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open, hinted at different arrangements in Melbourne next year when asked about his future plans.
The Scottish star said that, while nothing had been set in stone, early conversations indicated there would be radically different treatment for vaccinated players compared to those who have not chosen to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula indicated Murray was on the money when asked about the arrangements on SEN Radio on Wednesday morning.
Mr Pakula said there was no doubt it would be 'very wise' to be vaccinated before coming to Australia to play - if those without the inoculation were even allowed entry at all.
“Whether or not it’s as strict as you won’t get into Australia if you’re not vaccinated, that I don’t know," he said.
“What I’m very clear on, what I’m very sure about is that the rules for unvaccinated players and the rules for vaccinated players, I’m quite confident will be very different.
“So, we’ll provide clarity for the ATP and the WTA very shortly, but I think they can be very confident that being vaccinated will be a wise thing for them to do before they seek to come to Australia.”
Tennis has struggled to convince top flight players to get vaccinated, with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas yet to receive the vaccination.
World No.3 Tsitsipas has said he will get the vaccination if it is made mandatory by the ATP.
Australian Open predicted to go ahead despite ongoing lockdowns
Tennis Australia is yet to outline the quarantine requirements or vaccination conditions for international players as well as spectators.
The US Open, which started this week, required fans to show proof of vaccination for entry.
Both the men's and women's main tours say that vaccination rates of their players are currently just above 50 per cent.
Pakula said he believed the 2022 tournament would go ahead at Melbourne Park as scheduled.
"It's hard to be certain about anything right now but I'm very confident that the Australian Open will go ahead," Pakula said.
"On our vaccine horizon, the second half of January we should be in a very good position.
"We were able to get the tournament away last year and that was with zero per cent of the community vaxxed.
"So I'm very confident the Australian Open will go ahead and it's very important that it does."
Australian Open organisers are hopeful players can avoid the hard hotel quarantine they endured in 2021 due to rising vaccination rates in the general public nation-wide.
They are planning for a two-week bubble, where players will be able to move freely between their accommodation and the courts.
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