Craig Tiley: Australian Open plans to be the ‘very safe and happy slam'

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Craig Tiley: Australian Open plans to be the ‘very safe and happy slam'

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley says that he continues to remain confident that the Australian Open would be held as per the regular schedule in 2021, although the state of Victoria is currently in a lockdown mode due to a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley on plans for Australian Open 2021

With the US Open scheduled to go ahead without fans later his month in New York and the French Open scheduled to go ahead in September with some fans in the stands, Tiley says he is optimistic that the Grand Slam event in Melbourne will also go ahead as per its regular slot on the tennis calendar with fans in attendance as well.

In an interview to Reuters, Tiley outlined some of the plans that the tournament was taking, which include having five bubbles and approximately half the number of fans that attended the 2020 edition of the event earlier this year in January.

“We’re going to open our bio bubble from the first of December and players can come at any time. When the players arrive, our expectation is they’re not going to be in a hotel for 14 days like the current requirements are.

We’ll have an exemption within this bio-secure bubble. We’ve said every year that we’re the ‘happy slam’. But now we’re saying we’re the ‘very safe and happy slam.’” Tiley added that his team have planned for five scenarios for next year - starting from a regular event like they have in previous years right down to not having the event at all.

A possible scenario also being considered would be having the tournament at a later date in the year and Tiley added that any decisions to move the event would be taken in consultation with all the governing bodies of tennis.

The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam event on the tennis calendar. The 2020 Australian Open was won by Serbia's Novak Djokovic on the men's side and America's Sofia Kenin on the women's side. The women's tennis circuit resumed earlier this month and the men's tennis circuit will resume in New York next week. (Picture from Australian Open Twitter account)