February 1 is firming as the likely Australian Open start date but the Victorian government are standing firm on their insistence on all players serving a 14-day quarantine period before beginning their preparation for the grand slam.
Sources have told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age players have been advised the Australian Open will most likely start on February 1, pending Victorian government approval for them to travel to Melbourne in the first week of January.
The Australian Open is set to start on February 1Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
Players are set to arrive by January 7 at the latest, before completing a 14-day quarantine period.
Sources have said the Victorian government are yet to be convinced anything other than a hard two-week quarantine – which will mean players cannot train – will be acceptable, but discussions with Tennis Australia, the ATP and WTA are ongoing.
TA remain hopeful they can find middle ground which would allow players to prepare for the rigours of a grand slam tournament while remaining isolated from the Victorian community.
That's largely due to the growing chorus of opinion – including Australian veteran John Millman – that headline stars will not travel to Melbourne if they are unable to train for 14 days.
"You just can’t do a two-week hard lockdown to get ready for an Australian Open," Millman said.
"I don’t think any of the international players would do that. Your body is what pays the bills. You are an injury risk, you can’t go from zero to 100 right away, that’s the biggest risk."
Top officials at TA hope 10 days of preparation after quarantine will be sufficient to convince stars the trip to Melbourne will be worthwhile.
Players would have a handful of days to train after the 14-day quarantine period before lead-up tournaments begin in place of the ATP Cup. The Australian Open would then start on February 1 and run for a fortnight.
While neither TA nor the Victorian government have signed off on the plan, multiple sources said some reports the tournament could be delayed until March or April were well off the mark.
More to come
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