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Australian Open players and officials to face world’s ‘strictest rules for tennis’

Australian Open players and officials to face world’s ‘strictest rules for tennis’
January 12, 2021

Victorian health authorities have announced the quarantine protocols for tennis players and their staff in the lead up to the Australian Open in Melbourne next month.

About 1,200 players, support staff and officials from the international tennis circuit will be subjected to what Victorian Police and Emergency Services Minister, Lisa Neville described as the “strictest rules for tennis” in the world when they arrive in Australia from Thursday for the Grand Slam tournament.

Those arriving will need to test negative for the Coronavirus before flying to Australia and then undergo 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine like any other international arrival into the country.

However, players and one other person they can nominate for support only need to spend two days in quarantine before they can leave to attend training at dedicated venues, as long as they test negative.

The training venues are at Melbourne Park, the National Tennis Centre and Albert Reserve.

All players, and their nominated support person, will be tested every single day in hotel quarantine.

Those leaving their designated quarantine hotel to attend training they will be escorted by COVID marshals at all times with players having to make a ‘one-way movement’ through the training venue.

Their permitted activity will involve 130 minutes with a training partner, 90 minutes in a gym session and a 60-minute nutrition session.

Commenting on the process, Minister Neville stated "the intention is to try and get negative tests, there may be a handful where there are delays in testing results.

"We won't stop people getting on the plane, but everyone is taking a risk in doing that, because you may turn out to be positive and spend your time in Melbourne in hotel quarantine and not actually be able to play the tennis.”

The tournament, which will begin on 8th February after warm-up events that start on 31st January, is the largest international sporting event to be held in Australia since the beginning of the pandemic.

With hosting the event demonstrating Australia’s COVID-19 response to the world, Minister Neville added "it is a two-week program that guarantees the future of the Australian Open for Victoria into the long term."

Minister also advised that the cost of the quarantine program would be fully funded by Tennis Australia.

Currently Tennis Australia is selling tickets for the tournament at 35% of Melbourne Park’s capacity, with the precinct split into three zones.

Some public health experts have questioned the wisdom of holding the Australian Open at all.

University of New South Wales adjunct professor and infectious diseases expert, Professor Bill Bowtell, told The Australian “they shouldn’t allow people in for the Australian Open, that should go to history like the Grand Prix did.”

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13th August 2020 - Tennis Australia’s Craig Tiley anticipates 2021 Australian Open will go ahead with fans in Melbourne

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3rd July 2020 - Tennis Australia commits to staging 2021 Australian Open in Melbourne

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