No delay to Australian Open despite Covid-19 chaos
Published: 01:07 PM, 17 January 2021
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley persisted Sunday the Grand Slam would begin as scheduled next month though admitting it was “not a great situation” for the 47 players who have been confined to their hotel rooms due to be contracted Covid-19 chaos.
The tournament was thrown into clutter on Saturday when three people tested positive for Covid-19 on two of the 17 charter flights that brought players and their entourages to Melbourne and Adelaide.
None were players, although one was Sylvain Bruneau, coach of Canada’s 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu.
Everyone on board was considered to be close contacts and ordered not to leave their hotel rooms for the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
It means 47 players will not be allowed out to train for five hours a day as previously agreed in the build-up to the opening Grand Slam of the year, which is due to start on February 8.
The likes of Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori and Angelique Kerber are believed to among those affected, badly impacting their preparations.
“We always knew there would be significant risk with this pandemic, you can never tell,” Tiley told Channel Nine television.
“But the Australian Open is going ahead and we will continue to do the best we possibly can to ensure those players that have what is not a great situation, one that is somewhat acceptable.”