'Zero chance': John Millman's startling call on Australian Open

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
John Millman is seen here during a tennis match.
John Millman has expressed his concerns around the Australian Open. Pic: Getty

John Millman has provided a damning assessment on the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the Australian Open grand slam.

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula this week conceded that the year's first grand slam would "most likely" be delayed - probably by a week or two.

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However, it's the state's uncompromising 14-day quarantine lockdown that has proved a major bone of contention in the tennis world.

As things currently stand, players arriving from overseas would have to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days, before being able to train and properly prepare for the tournament.

Discussions are ongoing to possibly shorten that period to 10 days and to allow players to at least train while in quarantine.

It's a delicate balancing act that Millman is all too familiar with, having being confined to a hotel room himself recently.

The World No.38 gave a grim assessment on the prospects for the Australian Open, unless players were allowed to train during lockdown.

“I was hearing ... players would have to come in and do a 14-day hard lockdown like I’m doing right now,” Millman told The Tennis Podcast from his hotel.

“I’ve always been of the opinion if they had to do this, after living through it (myself), there’s zero chance that the tournament goes ahead.

“I just don’t think that it’s conducive to a player’s health to come in and do 14 days confined to a room and then go out there and play a grand slam. You’re at risk of injury. You lose so much conditioning.

“This is going to take me a week or two just to start feeling the ball again when I get out of here.

“I’ve always thought that if that was the case, it (the tournament) wouldn’t exist.

“The grand slam would not exist.”

Pictured here, Roger Federer and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
Daniel Andrews has all-but confirmed the Australian Open will be delayed. Image: Getty

Aus Open dates close to be finalised

The Victorian government says the delicate negotiations between politicians and various stakeholders were close to a conclusion and that the Open was still expected to go ahead.

Rather than the scheduled start date of January 18, however, the Australian Open will likely kick off on February 1.

It's understood the game's male stars were told by the ATP that a 14-day quarantine period “with the ability to practice” could start on January 8.

Open tournament director and Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley said the final dates for the Melbourne Park grand slam should be confirmed within the coming week.

Officials conducted some 10,000 coronavirus tests before and during the successfully-staged US Open in New York in September, with Frenchman Benoit Paire the only player to return a positive to COVID-19.

"An extremely rigorous testing regime will apply to the players both before they leave the port that they come in from and when they arrive," Victorian Sports Minister Pakula said.

"And then I imagine consistently through the time they're in their bubble ... there will be a number of differences in the amount of testing that they do and some of the rigour around that."

with AAP