Tennis Australia officials have conceded they may have to cancel the 2021 Australian Open as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chief executive Craig Tiley said today the event “will be compromised” as a result of the worldwide health scare.
If the event was to go ahead, Tiley said the number of fans would be limited.
“Worst-case scenario is no Australian Open,” Tiley said.
“Our best-case scenario at this point is having an AO with players that we can get in here with quarantining techniques and Australian-only fans.”
With the ATP and WTA tours looking unlikely to return this year, due to international travel restrictions, Tiley said Tennis Australia had devised a contingency plans in the hope of saving next year’s Open.
“There’s four scenarios and we’ve modelled everything,” Tiley said.
“We’ve modelled the times we have to make decisions, dates we have to make decisions, who it impacts, how it’s going to impact them.
“We’ve done that for 670 staff. We’ve done that for all of our partners – our media partners, our sponsors and for all the governments and places we rent facilities (from).
“And now we’re working on the international playing group and getting them to understand what each of those scenarios are and what it means for them and how we can action it.”
Much will depend on how the world emerges from the pandemic ands what travel restrictions are in place.
Tennis Australia is set to unveil plans for a domestic Pro Series for leading Australian players this year.It’s yet to be revealed which of Australia’s elite professionals will take part, including world No.1 Ashleigh Barty or dual grand slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios.
But Aussie men’s No.1 Alex de Minaur is stranded in Spain and would not be able to compete, nor would Alexei Popyrin, who is in France.
Meanwhile, French Open organisers have been in talks to fine-tune their plans after media reports suggested the Slam would be delayed by a week.
“We took the decision in mid-March to postpone Roland Garros from 20 September to 4 October, a French tennis federation spokesman told Reuters.
Since then, we have been discussing with the international bodies of the various circuits (International Tennis Federation, WTA, ATP) the optimum calendar for the second part of the season, which will be finalised with the various stakeholders very soon.”
French newspaper Le Parisien and tennis website tennis.com have reported the event would start a week later, on September 27.