With the Victorian state government not allowing overseas players to enter the state in mid-December it has thrown the opening Grand Slam of the 2021 season into chaos.
The reasoning behind the decision is that Australians that are overseas need to be allowed back home ahead of the tennis stars.
The Australian Open was scheduled to commence on 18 January and conclude on 31 January 2021.
Now it is anyone’s guess as to when the tournament will be played. Talks between Tennis Australian and the Victorian Government are underway.
On 22 November Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia CEO released a statement where he said, “Tennis Australia is 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.
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.”
Rafael Nadal was asked about the situation when he was competing at the ATP Finals in London.
“I don’t know what’s the situation going to be yet,” Nadal said. “We need to wait about what the government there in Victoria says.
“We can’t do much from ATP position or just wait. We [are] nobody to say what they feel is better for [their] country, no?
“We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing. That is difficult for everyone. We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year.”
“Hopefully with the vaccine, that ends soon and we can come back at least to close to normal in a couple of months, but now is a difficult situation.”
Before the Victorian Government stepped in to say that there would be a likely delay for the start date, the lead-up tournaments were set to be held in Victoria.
In normal conditions tournaments would have been held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart Perth and Canberra. It was decided to hold all events in Victoria in case a state border closure stranded players interstate.
The obvious solution is to have players enter Australia using all possible airports and have them do their quarantine across different states and territories.
What prevents this is the behaviour of the State Premiers that are willing to shutdown their borders without valid health reasons.
Just last week the South Australian Premier shutdown the entire state after a small outbreak. You could understand quarantining Adelaide but to shut down the entire state was clearly an overreaction.