The novel coronavirus pandemic isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, as the viral disease continues to haunt people around the globe. Every day, thousands of new COVID-19 cases are coming to notice and the vaccine doesn’t seem to be ready just yet. Amid such an unprecedented crisis, international tennis is all set to return in action. The US Open will start later in August, followed by the French Open at Rolland Garros in September. In such a situation, doubts related to the 2021 Australian Open are in the air.
What’s in fate for the Australian Open?
Fans are curious whether the flagship tennis event will happen in Melbourne in January as usual, or the organizers shall move the tournament to a different venue? Or in any case, is their possibility for the cancellation of the tournament? Well, it is too early to predict the proceedings related to the Australian summer.
But meanwhile, the CEO of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley seems very confident about the tournament’s future. He said that no one could think of moving the event to any venue different than the iconic Melbourne Park. He further stated that all the big players are looking forward to the Australian Open.
Tiley spoke to the Age, where he said, “It hasn’t even crossed my mind (changing the venue). Heaven and earth will be moved to make it work in Melbourne. I don’t see any scenario possible where the Australian Open would move. Melbourne Park itself is a massive quarantine opportunity for us. The whole network and the whole hub being put next to the city, you can actually create a bubble over Melbourne Park to make it extremely safe. It will be world-leading. All of the top players, both on the women’s side and the men’s side, they look at Australia to possibly come here early in December.”
Players are waiting for the Australian Open
Tiley also claimed that some players would not return to court at all for the rest of the 2020 season. Instead, they will be ready before the Australian Open commences in January.
The CEO said, “I personally think that some of the top players will be in doubt [for the rest of 2020] and that’s simply because they may feel it’s too soon. It’s nothing against the US Open. Their view on the Australian summer is pretty buoyant. They look at the infection rate, the mortality rate, our medical system, and how our leaders have managed it and in many ways envy how we’ve managed this outbreak.”
He continued, “You’re going to be in an environment where you feel safe, the sun is shining and most of them are coming from the northern hemisphere where it will be the middle of winter … and they can play right through until the end of January. Most of them – Roger Federer included – are not playing the rest of the year and are looking to the Australian Open to launch 2021. In fact, all of them I’ve spoken to – there’s not one that hasn’t – are looking to the beginning of 2021 and the beginning of the new season as the new hope for tennis globally.”
2020 tennis season: A disputed one
One thing is pretty sure by now. And that is, most leading tennis players will have to choose either to play in the US Open or the French Open. This is mainly because of the less recovery time between thee two Grand Slams. Another potential reason for this dilemma is the recent quarantine norms that the EU has released. They also closed their borders for the residents of the USA. This potentially puts a travel barrier for many American tennis stars. As of now, American tennis icons Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams have committed to the US Open. On the other hand, Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal will be seen at the French Open. The 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer will not play this year.