Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley has quashed rumours the 2021 Australian Open may be moved because Melbourne has a growing number of COVID-19 patients.
The State of Victoria reported another 66 caesura of the virus today, prompting talk the event could be moved to Sydney or Brisbane in January.
“Nothing has changed for us in terms of our planning,” Tiley told AAP, when asked about the rumour.
“The environment around us has changed, and will continue to change, as we’ve seen with the current spike in Victoria.
“So I’m confident we will run the Australian Open in Melbourne and other events around Australia in January and we’re working closely with all our authorities on the regulations regarding mass gatherings, physical distancing and increased hygiene that are being put in place.”
Tiley was quick to point out that Melbourne Park and its 2km sq precinct is the only location in Australia capable of hosting the event.
A total of 33 courts are used during the tournament, including three with retractable roofs.
“All this will be in one self-contained area, which will be crucial in COVID times,” Tiley said.
Tiley said organisers had several plans to manage whatever happens over the next few months.
“The US Open and the French Open are exploring mandatory testing, varying levels of quarantine and limiting entourages,” he said.
“Of course we are looking at all these options, and more, as part of our scenario planning.
“It’s difficult to predict exactly what will need to be in place as guidelines and protocols are changing week by week, and sometimes even day by day.”