Australian Open could be postponed to March or April
The Australian Open could be pushed back to March or April due to covid-19 restrictions, placing organisers under pressure to fix the summer schedule.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley hopes plans for the "summer of tennis" are finalised soon. Huge uncertainty continues to surround the expected first grand slam of 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Reports have suggested all lead-up tournaments could be moved to Victoria, while players are apparently being denied entry to Australia until January.
On Saturday, reports said the Australian Open could be moved from its usual January start to either March or April.
In a statement on Sunday, Tiley said works were continuing – but he appeared to suggest plans were for the event to be held in summer, which runs from December through February in Australia.
Australian Open start date dependent on covid cases
"Tennis Australia is doing everything we can to finalise the summer of tennis as soon as possible," he said.
"Our intention is to deliver a summer in conditions that allow the players to prepare and perform at their best and the fans to enjoy their efforts – all in an environment that is safe for all concerned.
"We are working closely with the Victorian Government on a plan that takes into account the needs of the players, fans, our partners and staff, and is of major benefit to the Victorian and Australian economy.
"We are continuing our urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and are confident we will have decisions soon.
"Tennis Australia is acutely aware of the need for certainty, but also conscious of reaching a solution with the State Government that ensures the safety of the entire community.
"We look forward to announcing our ticket on-sale date as soon as all arrangements with the relevant authorities are finalising and we have more information on crowd sizes. We anticipate this on-sale date will be within the next two weeks.
"We can't wait for the summer and look forward to bringing you more details as soon as we possibly can."
The Australian Open has started in January in every year since 1987.
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