Leaked emails have exposed the staggering financial hit that Tennis Australia is prepared to wear in order for the Australian Open to go ahead.
After weeks of discussions between tennis officials and the Victorian government, it emerged this week that the Melbourne Park major would get underway on February 8.
The start date is three weeks later than originally planned.
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According to multiple sources, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley has sent an email to players, coaches and managers outlining strict conditions, including two weeks quarantine.
News Corp reported Tiley's leaked email said authorities had agreed to special conditions for players that would allow them to prepare in Melbourne for the year's first grand slam.
There had been particular concern about Victoria's 14-day hotel quarantine for players, without allowing concessions for training.
Those fears have been allayed with players set to be allowed up to five hours a day to train, before returning to their hotels for quarantine, inside the first 14 days.
"It's taken a while, but the great news is it looks like we are going to be able to hold the AO on February 8," Tiley said in an email, according to News Corp.
"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."
In order to train they must test negative to COVID-19 on the first day of isolation.
The players will then be tested another four times before the tournament starts - on days three, seven, 10 and 14 of their quarantine period.
Following successful completion of their quarantine, players will then be free to move around the city.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews insisted that no player - regardless of their status or world ranking - will be given preferential treatment.
However, the entire exercise is set to cost Tennis Australia an eye-watering $40 million to pull off - a figure significantly more than originally anticipated.
State government to help cover costs
Victoria's Treasurer Tim Pallas told reporters on Friday that the state government will help TA cover some of the huge costs associated with the grand slam.
“The Australian Open of course is a vitally important part of our sporting calendar but it’s also vitally important for Tennis Australia and its ongoing viability so we are conscious of the fact that we will be in discussions with them about what constitutes an appropriate recognition of what they’re doing to put on this event," Pallas said.
“I’ve made it clear I that expect to get some value back for the state of Victoria as a consequence of those engagements.
“We’re working with them to assist them in being able to continue to provide this great sporting event.
“There will be a cost associated with the timing … essentially a cost to the state and a cost to TA.
“The state will happily provide support … it allows us to put on this event safely."
Tennis Australia said earlier this week that the Victorian Government was still yet to officially sign off on the final plan.
The Victorian Premier says he's committed to hosting the tournament in Melbourne, but insists the situation there is different from other parts of the world, where coronavirus cases are high.
"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," Andrews said.
"Every other grand slam (is happening where) cases are running wild.
"So we are unique in that we've built something that no one else has built across the nation ... and on that basis, we have to safeguard that, and I think we can."
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