The 2021 Australian Open will reveal the top competing stars of tennis. A mandatory COVID-19 quarantine awaits the players in Adelaide. They will take part in an exhibition before the major tournament kicks off. Australian Open organizers confirmed the development on Saturday. Concerns of the first Grand Slam tennis event of the year will kick off on February 8. The event changed its original third week of January start date. The new schedule aims to prepare the players for the major tournament. At the same time, they can monitor their health in case if they test positive after their Australian arrival. The development will also be good news for online tennis betting enthusiasts who crave big-time serve and volley action in the Southern Hemisphere.
COVID-19 Complicates 2021 Australian Open Schedule
Originally scheduled to kick off in the third week of January, the 2021 Australian Open event was rescheduled to February 8 to give tennis players and their entourage to undergo the mandatory two-week quarantine to check if they are infected with the virus before they arrive in Melbourne for the major tennis tournament. More than 1,200 individuals will arrive late this week in Melbourne on charter flights. They are to follow strict measures, including a 14-day quarantine, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the area. However, some Melbourne residents expressed concern over possible infection. This is due to the arrival of the delegates from other nations where the virus is prevalent. As a result, one of the hotels in Melbourne withdrew on Tuesday. The hotel was to accommodate the Australian Open entourage.
South Australia to the Rescue
To resolve the issue, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley approached the South Australian government. This concerned about accommodating the players and their delegation. Fortunately for the Aussie Open organizers, South Australia Premier Steven Marshall came to the rescue. He agreed to host 50 people in a quarantine bubble and organize an exhibition game to get tennis fans excited. A statement that confirms the exhibition tournament said that the event is slated on January 29 and will feature the top three men’s singles stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem.
Also, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka, with 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams are in the top three. Notably, the top female tennis player in the world, Ashleigh Barty, will not take part in the event. However, the organizers will add two more playing netters in the exhibition event. Tiley pointed out that the conditions of the quarantine will be similar to Melbourne. Players will train five hours outside of their rooms in a bio-secure bubble.
Pre-2021 Australian Open Schedule and Bonus Adelaide Event
After the quarantine, the men’s tennis stars will take part in the 12-team Association of Tennis Professionals Cup in Melbourne Park. Two Women’s Tennis Association and two ATP events are to follow the ATP Cup. The events will take place a week before the 2021 Australian Open event. The organizers also announced an extra WTA 500 event in Adelaide after the Australian Open on February 22-27, with 70 players set to compete in the one-week tournament. Most parts of Australia have managed to contain the virus although there are some places that the virus has re-emerged, causing the authorities to re-introduce some restrictions, with Brisbane announcing a COVID-19 lockdown.
The pandemic may have forced every sports organization to consider their arrangements, including their accommodations and health protocols, but the Australian Open organizers say that the show must go on, so they employed stricter health standards and organized a bubble type arrangement in an exhibition event. Furthermore, there is also an extra women’s event in Adelaide after the 2021 Australian Open event to give tennis fans a month-long, action-packed February which will be great for sports bookies and parlays worldwide.