The 2021 Australian Open, set to start next week, has been shaken by a fresh positive case of the coronavirus. A staff member working at Grand Hyatt Hotel – where a majority of the tennis players are staying – has tested positive for the virus. Consequently, all the players have been called back into isolation and requested to quarantine themselves.
All 6 tennis warm-up tournaments across the ATP and WTA Tour have postponed their Thursday matches as a precautionary measure.
Delayed schedules and postponements to follow?
Several competitions were taking place in Melbourne this week to allow players to build some momentum ahead of the major.
The WTA events featured some big names like Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka, and Sofia Kenin, majority of whom were scheduled to play on Thursday.
You also have the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who are leading the fray in the ATP Cup.
With the game stopped for the day, it is to be seen how the schedule will be impacted for the final few rounds.
The season’s first Grand Slam already witnessed a rocky build-up, following the two-week mandatory quarantine for all players arriving in Melbourne.
The slam was moved to February, as a result, to allow players to complete their quarantine and warm-up for the big event.
However, not all is gloomy. Victoria state’s health officials are taking the necessary steps to test the players quickly so all of them can get back to the courts on Friday. They also maintain that the risk to the players is relatively low.
Even the Australian Open top boss Craig Tiley is optimistic that the tournament will start as scheduled on Monday.