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Australian Open to begin on February 8?

Novak Djokovic

Bengaluru, December 3: Amidst uncertainty over the schedule of the season's first Grand Slam due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a section of local media reported that Australian Open will be held from February 8 to 21.

The season's first Grand Slam to be held at the Melbourne Park had originally been scheduled to begin on January 18, amid questions about the players' travel and preparation due to the COVID-19 health guidelines and protocols.

Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, has not recorded a new case of COVID-19 in over a month after a nearly four-month hard lockdown to combat a second wave of infections.

Training during quarantine

Training during quarantine

Now it is presumed that the players would be allowed to train outside their hotel rooms during the quarantine period.

According to reports in the Australian media, Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley confirmed in an e-mail to players that authorities had agreed to allow players to train during two weeks of strict quarantine.

COVID-19 protocols

COVID-19 protocols

Tennis Australia has been in talks with the Victoria state government over the COVID-19 protocols to be established for those arriving ahead of the Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.

State officials had earlier confirmed that the players will have to undergo quarantine and that the tournament will have to be pushed back by a week or two.

Djokovic's call

Djokovic's call

Men's champion and current ATP world No.1 Novak Djokovic had earlier urged the government to support players heading into the Australian Open, with the Serb calling for authorities to sanction lead-up tournaments while quarantining.

There had been reports pre-Australian Open events will be held in Victoria, rather than around Australia in cities like Sydney and Brisbane, in order to minimise travel ahead of the year's opening Grand Slam in Melbourne.

Kenin gets ready

Kenin gets ready

The 2020 Australian Open was probably one of the last tennis tournaments to be held within a packed stadium. Women's champion Sofia Kenin has already started her training in the right earnest at hime.

With Australian media reporting that players will be allowed to train for upto five hours during the quarantine, the American is getting ready for it.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Thursday, December 3, 2020, 10:37 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 3, 2020