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Australian Open At Risk

Although it is not scheduled to take place until the second half of January next year, there is already a risk that the first tennis Grand Slam of 2021, the Australian Open, could be cancelled.

That is according to  Tennis Australia (TA) and organisers of the tournament, which is the biggest sporting event in the Australian sporting calendar, who have expressed their concerns about whether the event can take place at all because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And, whilst they believe that cancellation is a worst-case option, even in the most optimistic of scenarios, it is likely to be a radically different event than in previous years.

Those scenarios would see only fans from Australia itself able to attend, and players forced to undergo a strict period of quarantine first, with, in all probability, only a limited field of competitors taking part, because of international travel restrictions.

Already they have developed a series of contingency plans, and have developed different models as to how the tournament might proceed, including one for their 650 staff, another for broadcasters, and a third one for major commercial partners. A further scenario for international players is now under review.

What may give tennis fans further pause for thought in the assumptions made by Tennis Australia is that they are predicated upon the sport not resuming again until the start of next year.

That is not the official position currently. Having been suspended in early March because of the coronavirus pandemic, both the ATP and the WTA tours have both penciled in July 13th as a possible resumption date. However, that timetable is not starting to look increasingly untenable.

Already Wimbledon has been cancelled, and a decision on the US Open will be taken next month. The rescheduled French Open is still due to start at the end of September, but a ban on sporting activity in the country has been extended to the start of that month.

The immediate future for competitive tennis is not looking bright. 

Shantanu Gupta predominantly writes for the sister sites of Inplay Cricket India, Inplay Sports India and Indian Cricket World. Having grown up around the intense rivalries of cricket Shantanu took to a journalistic career in following the sport whilst also remaining mindful of other key sports of interest to Indian sports fans. You’ll see him not only writing about cricket but also covering football, tennis and more.

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