“Could Look at Formats on Scores”: Australian Open Tournament Director Following the Chaos at Pre-events

Published 02/04/2021, 2:40 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 4, 2021 A man wearing a protective face mask walks past an Australian Open logo in Melbourne Park. Play on Thursday was cancelled after a hotel quarantine worker in Melbourne returned a positive result for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Up to 600 players and support staff connected to the Australian Open will have to isolate until they have been tested. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


The Australian Open 2021 has run into jeopardy after a COVID-19 positive case has halted all tennis proceedings at the Melbourne Park site. Now organizers face the test of time to end all the pre-events to the Australian Open before the Grand Slam begins on February 8.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

There are six tournaments that need to be completed before the Aussie Open begins. Three WTA tournaments and three ATP tournaments have now been left in limbo.

Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, speaks to the media during a press conference. Play on Thursday was cancelled after a hotel quarantine worker in Melbourne returned a positive result for the coronavirus. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Australian Open organizers working closely with ATP and WTA

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Craig Tiley, tournament director of the Australian Open, is confident of concluding all the pre-events and starting the Grand Slam on time. Tennis Australia is working closely with the ATP and WTA to find a solution soon. He said:

“We’ll work closely with the WTA, the women’s tour, and the ATP – the men’s tour – to figure out what’s the most optimal schedule for that.”

One solution to the problem is changing the scoring format. The six tournaments can be shortened to four games a set instead of the usual six. Further, more courts can be allotted for the events.

“With the lead-in events, there’s many options that we could have. We could look at formats on scores, we could look at the number of courts that we’re using,” Tiley said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The flagship event during this week is the ATP Cup. But now the tournament is still in its group stages with the semifinal and final yet to be played. Other than that, there are another two ATP events – the Murray River Open and Great Ocean Road Open. Top players like Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios, and Karen Khachanov lead the lineups in these events.

A staff member wearing a protective face mask is seen at the entrance to Melbourne Park. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

On the WTA side, there are three events – the Gippsland Trophy, Yarra Valley Classic, and Grampians Trophy. The whole WTA contingent for the Australian Open has been split randomly between these tournaments. So World No. 1 Ash Barty, Serena Williams, Simona Halep are all playing.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

It is a tough call to take for the organizers. A lot of things need to be sorted out as the Australian Open draw also needs to be completed and this also raises concerns over Aussie Open’s spectator allowance.

DIVE DEEPER

‘Am I Playing Tomorrow?’: Nick Kyrgios Confused After Play Suspends at Australian Open 2021 Site

8 months ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT