Australian Open officials are war-gaming every possible scenario in the face of continuing government resistance to allowing the January Grand Slam to proceed as close to “normal” as possible.
TD Craig Tiley is touting a new iteration of the Aussie tennis summer in hopes of saving the start of 2021 for the sanctioning federation.
In the face of a no-exceptions 14-day (minimum) quarantine rule for players who might be given exemptions to fly into a country where international travel has been suspended for months, Tiley is proposing that competitors stay a while Down Under.
He told local London’s Sportsmail that Tennis Australia is discussing a calendar shake-up, with events being scheduled AFTER the Open ends in late January.
Under an ideal scenario, the quarantine problem would have been sorted, with players already positioned in the vast island-continent after competing in Melbourne.
“We are talking about the possibility of having a couple of events after the Australian Open,” Tiley said.
“I’m of the opinion that we are still very far from being able to travel around the world after the serious health crisis in which we are going through.
“We are not alone preparing for the Australian Open next year, but we are also considering different scenarios for 2022. It is impossible that we can repeat 2020.”
He added gloomily: “I think that until 2023 or 2024 it will be unlikely that we will see a scenario similar to that of all these years.”
Under a normal schedule, the mid-January start of the major in Melbourne is preceded by several weeks of warm-up events, including the multi-city ATP Cup, which debuted 11 months ago.
Once the Open is done, so is the country’s tennis summer.