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Australian Open not likely to start until after January for first time ever

The start date of next year’s Australian Open should be known in the next two weeks with growing speculation the Grand Slam will be shifted away from January. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday he was not sure if the Open – set to start on January 18 – would start on time as the government works on the delicate quarantine process for the players and their entourages, an estimated 2500 people.

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley on Sunday released a statement saying they were ‘doing everything we can to finalise the summer of tennis as soon as possible’.

‘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,’ he said.

The start date of the 2021 Australian Open should be known in the next two weeks with growing speculation the Grand Slam will be pushed back from January (Pictured is Roger Federer at the 2020 event)

The start date of the 2021 Australian Open should be known in the next two weeks with growing speculation the Grand Slam will be pushed back from January (Pictured is Roger Federer at the 2020 event)

It is expected the tournament will be moved away from January, which is in the middle of the Victorian summer school holiday period (Pictured are crowds at the 2019 event)

It is expected the tournament will be moved away from January, which is in the middle of the Victorian summer school holiday period (Pictured are crowds at the 2019 event)

‘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 economies.

‘We are continuing our urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and are confident we will have decisions soon.’

Tiley said Tennis Australia was ‘aware’ of the need for certainty but is 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 finalised and we have more information on crowd sizes,’ he said.

‘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 detail as soon as we possibly can.’

World number 1 Novak Djokovic this week pleaded with the government to let players in early so they can compete in warm up events. 

Planning for the Open has been thrown into chaos due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday he was not sure if the Open - set to start on January 18 - would start on time as the government works on a quarantine plan for players and their entourages, an estimated 2500 people

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday he was not sure if the Open – set to start on January 18 – would start on time as the government works on a quarantine plan for players and their entourages, an estimated 2500 people

The major stumbling block is the Victorian government’s reported stance of refusing to allow incoming players to arrive until January 1.

That would give them just a handful of days to prepare for the tournament after serving their mandatory two-week quarantine period.

Reports have emerged that the Australian Open could be pushed back as late as March or even April.

But Tennis Australia said those reports were merely ‘speculation’. 

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