Stricter rules in place for the players at the 2021 Australian Open
The 2021 Australian Open is all set to be held from 8th February to 21st February. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tennis Australia has been going all out for the last eight months to ensure a safe environment for all the stakeholders of the game.
As many as 1100 players and officials are expected to take part in the Australian Open tournament after arriving on chartered flights between January 15 and 17.
Some of the important rules to be implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria (DHHS) are
- A 14-day quarantine period for all the players is compulsory in a bio-secure environment.
- The quarantine player will not start till the last player arrives in Melbourne.
- The quarantine period will end on January 31.
- For every day, a player can train and practice for five hours in Melbourne Park or at the Albert Reserve Tennis Centre and must remain in his hotel for the remaining 19 hours.
- If a player tests positive for COVID-19, he/she can opt for taking a second test.
- The losers in the first round will receive prize money of AUD 100,000.
- A player can have a maximum of 3 members in his team.
- A player must test six times negative for coronavirus before playing in Melbourne.
- Five tests will be conducted on each player on Day 1, 3, 7, 10 and 14 of the quarantine.
- The qualifying event for the Australian Open will be held in Doha from January 10 to January 13.
- If a player commits any breach, he will be fined and removed from the country.
- 50% capacity for crowds is planned with the spectator count expected to reach 400,000 over the entire fortnight.
Tennis Australia is spending a whopping $60 million to conduct the Australian Open 2021, more than double their normal budget of $25-30 million. The recovery from the pandemic will take up to five years. Last year, the US Open and the French Open were held in bio-bubbles. There were 2 positive Covid cases in New York and 10 positive cases in Paris.
While safety measures are paramount to thwart the threat of the contagious virus, it must not conflict with the freedom of the players. To keep the sport continuing, all the stakeholders have to make some sacrifices.
The Australian Open is being conducted by Tennis Australia by obtaining a loan and they have been put in a precarious financial situation as enormous costs have eaten into its own revenue.
The fans will hope that their favourite players prepare and perform at their best in a secure environment.
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