'Sad to hear': Aussie tennis rocked by devastating announcement

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios, pictured here at the Kooyong Classic in 2019.
Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios at the Kooyong Classic in 2019. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Aussie tennis fans were left saddened on Tuesday when it was revealed the Kooying Classic will not be played for the second-consecutive year.

The Melbourne event, normally played in the weeks leading up to the Australian Open, has been scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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In making the decision on Tuesday, organisers pointed to uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 rules and whether or not unvaccinated players will be allowed into the country.

Kooyong president Adam Cossar said he was disappointed the event could not take place in January 2022 but hopes it will return in 2023.

"With the great deal of uncertainty over recent months about the arrangements that would be in place in January, it has not been possible to make the best plans to deliver the best and safest sporting (event)," he said in a statement.

Players are still awaiting clarification on whether they need to be fully vaccinated to participate in the Australian Open, also in Melbourne, and other tennis tournaments in the country.

The Kooyong Classic is much-loved by fans around the country because of its relaxed and jovial nature.

Aussie summer of tennis beginning to take shape

Despite the loss of the Kooyong Classic, fans can look forward to Australian Open lead-up events in Sydney and Adelaide again as officials forge ahead with plans to restore the summer schedule to "as close to pre-pandemic conditions as possible".

As Tennis Australia continues delicate discussions with government officials, plans to stage warm-up tournaments elsewhere around the country are also coming together.

With most state borders reopening, TA is confident all lead-in events won't have to be held at Melbourne Park as they were this year because of the pandemic and biosecurity bubble requirements.

Grigor Dimitrov, pictured here at the Kooyong Classic in 2020.
Grigor Dimitrov at the Kooyong Classic in 2020. (Photo by Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Significantly, the ATP Cup - which was reduced from 24 teams to 12 this year - is expected to return to Sydney, with Adelaide and Brisbane also potential hosts for the group stages.

Perth was a co-host in 2020, but with Western Australia's staunch border closure remaining in place, there'll be no return there until at least 2023.

The Adelaide International, won by Australia's World No.1 Ash Barty the last time it was contested before the Open in 2020, is likely to return to its traditional place on the calendar and also feature a men's event.

After being held in Doha and Dubai this year, Australian Open qualifying will return to Melbourne Park in 2022.

While the summer program is beginning to take shape, TA, the WTA and ATP are feeling the heat over the emergence on Monday of a leaked email from the WTA to its Players' Council saying unvaccinated players would be free to compete at the Open provided they completed a two-week stint in quarantine.

In reaching this year's women's final, American Jennifer Brady proved it was possible to be competitive at the season's first grand slam even after enduring a fortnight holed up in a hotel room without being able to train.

Such a requirement would cast doubt on nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic's ability to defend his title.

The Serbian star is one of many players who have refused to share their vaccination status.

with agencies

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