Australian Open to welcome back fans from Thursday

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Australian Open to welcome back fans from Thursday

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has announced that fans will be allowed to return to Melbourne Park starting from Thursday and that the event won't finish behind the closed doors. Last Friday, after several cases of COVID-19, the state of Victoria went into a five-day lockdown and it was announced that from Saturday for five days there would be no fans at the Australian Open.

The Australian Open featured limited crowds in the opening five days of the event and they were hoping to increase the number of fans in attendance before another oubreak struck the state of Victoria. “We look forward to welcoming fans back to the Australian Open for the next four days and to finishing the event safely and on a high,” Tiley said, per the tournament's website.

The Australian crowd capacity to be at 50 percent

“The crowd will be capped at 7,477 for each session, which is approximately 50 percent capacity,'' Tiley added. “Last week we had our first real experience of live sport with fans in the stands and the atmosphere was electric.

The players appreciated the opportunity to compete in front of crowds for the first time in almost a year, and many spoke about how emotional it was to connect with fans again. “The COVIDSafe measures we had in place will continue, and we’ve opened up the zones so everyone can access the full site and enjoy both Grand Slam Oval and Garden Square.

“We are all looking forward to an incredible four days of tennis and can’t wait to see everyone back at the AO”. On Thursday, men's semifinal between record eight-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev will take place.

Also, women's semifinal between Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, as well as Karolina Muchova and Jennifer Brady, are set to take place.