Optimistic plans for a mass airlift of players from around the world (Dubai, Singapore, LA) into Melbourne in time for the mid-month start of Australian Open quarantine are proceeding slowly at best.
That’s the assessment of tournament TD Craig Tiley, who admitted in a social media posting that getting it all organised is proving to be a hard slog.
“There are a lot of pieces to this logistical puzzle and the last few are being finalised right now,” the South African said.
“We will have as many as 18 planes and each will be limited to 20% capacity to ensure the flights are as safe as possible for everyone.”
He added: “We appreciate your patience and are conscious that time timelines are very tight.
“We are doing our utmost to get the flight details to the entire playing group as soon as possible. Thank you for bearing with us, we will get everyone to Melbourne.”
Once they get there, competitors might face a change of plan regarding hotels after tournament officials had to abandon a plan to house some higher-ranked players at the city centre Westin – presumably in some of more than 30 VIP suites – for the obligatory 14-day pre-tournament quarantine.
But that is now being rearranged after permanent residents of some of the posh palaces threatened to take their complaints about the surprise – at least to them – arrangement to court.
In an effort to soothe ruffled feathers, AO bosses gave up on the Westin and are now arranging alternative accommodation venues under the strictest of security.
Players are due in Melbourne by the end of next week to begin quarantine prior to the February 8 start of play.