Australian Open tune-up matches on Thursday cancelled due to COVID-19

Andrew Cummings
February 4, 2021

"Those associated with the AO who quarantined at the hotel now need to be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result", Australian Open organizers stated.

Six ATP and WTA tournaments featuring the world's top players are now being held at Melbourne Park to get them match fit for the Grand Slam after their fortnight in quarantine.

Andrews spoke before all of Thursday's play was postponed, which he acknowledged was a possibility.

"It may have an impact on tomorrow's play in the lead-up events".

The Australian Open, which was due to start Sunday has been thrown into chaos after 520 tennis stars, officials and support staff were identified as casual contacts of the infected case who worked at the Grand Hyatt hotel.

It was not clear which players were affected although the biggest names of the game, including Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will not be among them as they spent their mandatory 14 days' quarantine in Adelaide.

A number of hotel quarantine security guards a year ago contracted COVID-19, sparking Victoria's second wave of coronavirus, which killed hundreds of people and led to months of lockdown. That could test the resolve of players who have recently come out of two weeks in quarantine and could give ammunition to critics of the decision to allow people to fly in from all over the world for the year's first major.

Many also believe it is unfair to fly in 1000-plus players and officials when thousands of Australians are stranded overseas.

Under the current plans, up to 30,000 spectators are expected daily at Melbourne Park for the two-week Grand Slam event, and there was no immediate indication of a change.

Everyone who arrives in Australia must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine under the COVID-19 pandemic regulations.

The lead-up to the Open had been thrown into chaos when four positive coronavirus cases were detected from charter flights carrying tennis players, coaches and officials to Melbourne nearly three weeks ago.

They will be allowed out of quarantine when they return a negative coronavirus swab, Australian Open organisers said in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The build-up to next week's Australian Open is facing disruption after a man working at one of Melbourne's quarantine hotels tested positive for coronavirus.

Premier Daniel Andrews said authorities were "assuming the worst" and acting as though the man had the highly infectious United Kingdom strain of the virus.

No. This is just one case and Victoria's contact tracing system has been massively overhauled since the second wave past year. "There's no need for people to be alarmed. We Victorians know what to do, and we have proven, as a state, very successful at managing these sorts of outbreaks, these sorts of issues".

Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said "it's not rocket science" that the man caught the virus from a positive case in hotel quarantine.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned his state they are facing a greater challenge than in 2020 with the emergence of highly-contagious Covid-19 United Kingdom strains within quarantine facilities. Most of those were during a second deadly wave previous year in which a hard lockdown and overnight curfews were put in place in Melbourne.

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