Australian Open hopefuls face three-week seclusion before Melbourne grand slam

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Players will travel to Australia for three weeks before the Australian Open to spend two weeks in quarantine and participate in a warm-up tournament as per plans revealed on Saturday.

The first Grand Slam of 2021 – carrying a purse of £ 40 million – will begin in Melbourne on 8 February, but players should arrive in the country by mid-January to clear quarantines amid the ongoing coronovirus epidemic.

Players will stay in selected hotels and will be allowed to train during the quarantine period, setting up a biosecure environment.

The WTA has announced that two WTA 500 tournaments will be held at Melbourne Park from 31 January to 7 February, while ATP will move Adelaide International to the city and also host the ATP 250 tournament at the same time.

Tournament director Clive Tilley said charter flights would be arranged for the players on 15 and 16 January, and that there would be a “high level of security” around the quarantine system to ensure the safety of the participants.

“Entries are shut down early next week and we currently have a commitment from every player in the world to be in Australia,” he said.

He said, ‘We are chartering flights around the world so that players can conduct a negative test in a 48-hour window before boarding any flight.

“When they arrive they will get another test, which will have to be negative, and they will stay in their hotel rooms until both of them are negative.

Wimbledon 2019 & # x002013;  Day Three & # x002013;  All England Lawn Tennis & Crochet Club
Sophia Kenin won the women’s title in Melbourne last year (Steven Peston / PA)

“Then it is a modified quarantine environment, a higher level of security. They will be taken from hotels that will be players — no more than five hours a day for courts only.

“For 14 days they will only be able to go in a safe environment between the hotel room and the courts. There will be continuous trials during that two-week period. “

With a designated practice partner during the first week and a group size increase in the second, players will be divided into cohorts.

Tiley said it was important that players be allowed to train while still watching quarantine.

He said, “If we players have to stay in our hotel room for two weeks then we will not be in a position to run the Australian Open.” ”

He said, “They won’t be ready and we won’t get the playground we’re expecting, so it’s a friendly environment. After the first week we increase the size of the cohort by a couple so that it will give them to someone else Give a chance to hit and be fully prepared. “

Qualifying for the tournament will take place outside Australia, with a women’s event in Dubai and a men’s event in Doha from 10–13 January, reducing the number of players traveling to the country.

The Australian Open will include singles, doubles and wheelchair competitions, although the junior event has been postponed to a later year.

The WTA has announced that its season will begin from January 5–13 with the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open, the WTA 500 level event.

Travis M. Andrews
Travis M. Andrews is a features writer for The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2016 as a reporter for Morning Mix. He was previously a travel and culture editor for Southern Living magazine, a contributing pop culture reporter for Mashable and the Week, and a contributing editor for the Syfy blog Dvice. He also has freelanced for magazines, including Esquire, GQ and Time. He is the author of the coming book "Because He's Jeff Goldblum," a semi-rumination and semi-ridiculous look at the career of the enigmatic actor and an exploration of the shifting nature of fame in the 21st century, to be published in November by Plume.