Victoria’s State premier Dan Andrews has reinforced his view that strict quarantine rules must be in place if the Australian Open is to go ahead in January.
The key issue at stake is quarantine for international players and support staff.
The State of Victoria will ease its policy for arrivals on December 7, but players have been told they will not be allowed to arrive until January, because the hotel quarantine system will be at full stretch over the Christmas period.
Andrews has polarised many players with his tough stance that all travellers must quarantine for 14 days. Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal have already expressed concerns.
The premier told Australian TV today there would be no exceptions to the rules.
“The rest of the world is on fire, so there will be quarantine for anyone coming to our city or state,” Andrews told the Sunrise program.
“You’ve got 250,000 cases a day in the United States, Europe is not much better, many parts of Asia are really struggling.
“As important as a tennis tournament is, we’re not going to jeopardise our coronavirus status by anything other than the highest standards.”
Victoria has now gone 26 days without reporting a new COVID-19 case.
Earlier Victorian sports and tourism minister Martin Pakula said the postponement of the tournament was likely.
“I still think it’s much more likely that it will be a shorter rather than longer delay,” he said.
“I don’t want to unduly repeat myself but these are very complex negotiations.”
Mr Pakula said the details of quarantine arrangements were close to being finalised.
“You can speculate until the cows come home about exactly what quarantine requirements will be in place,” he said.
“The quarantine requirements will be those that are ultimately agreed with the public health and then it will be a matter for the ATP and the WTA about whether or not they are acceptable.”