With Australia locked down and tennis shut down for the next few months, fears are starting to grow that life might not be back to normal in time for next January’s 2021 edition of the Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.
The Sun-Herald newspaper presented the case, citing Australian open TD Craig Tiley who said that the first major of next season which drew north of 800,000 fans in January might have to be played behind closed doors.
But there are other complications in an island-nation whose borders are currently locked down with no foreigners allowed in and returning Aussies subject to a fortnight of quarantine.
Tennis Australia apparently got the hint as the country’s sports ministry warned that other major events including the Melbourne Cup horse race and the Boxing Day cricket test could also be under threat due to public health concerns amid the highly contagious worldwide virus crisis.
Schools nationwide are closed, the tourism industry shut down; sanctions could last another half year in a worst-case scenario.
“With such a high-dependency on international travel we are looking at what we might have to do if players need to be quarantined for any length of time before being allowed to freely move around Australia,” Tiley told the Herald-Sun..
“If mass gatherings are still not allowed or severely restricted next year, we are looking at the possibility of running an event for broadcast.
“These are just two of many scenarios we have to examine. We have to be prepared for a changed environment.
“We don’t know which of the current measures being used to try and contain the spread of infection will still need to be in place for the medium to long term.”