A biosecure bubble is set to be enforced during next year’s Australian Open with tournament boss Craig Tiley revealing players will be able to move freely between the hotel and the courts for two weeks prior to the start of the Grand Slam in Melbourne
Last Updated: 26/08/21 9:33am
Australian Open organisers are planning for players to have two weeks in a biosecure bubble before next year’s Grand Slam rather than be subject to the country’s strict hotel quarantine.
Players, coaches and officials had to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine after arriving in Australia for the tournament in February due to COVID-19 restrictions, though most were permitted up to five hours a day to train at closed courts.
However, around 70 players were unable to leave their hotel rooms for their entire isolation after being deemed close contacts of positive cases on flights into Australia.
Some complained about the conditions, triggering a backlash from Melbourne residents who were subject to one of the world’s strictest lockdowns for nearly four months in 2020.
Tournament boss Craig Tiley admitted players would not be prepared to go through the same quarantine conditions again.
“There’s a lot of time between now and when we get going, but at this point in time we’re planning on having a two-week bubble, where the players will be able to move freely between the hotel and the courts,” Tiley said.
“They’re protected, they’re kept safe among themselves and safe from the community as well.
“And after those two weeks, they’ll come out and be able to compete in the Australian Open in front of crowds.
“Were working with the government and health authorities now on the amount of crowds and what the Australian Open will specifically look like.”
Organisers are targeting the traditional January slot for the next Grand Slam, although another lockdown in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, and Australia’s slow vaccine roll-out have clouded the outlook.
Tiley said he hoped Australia would reach its target of vaccinating 80 per cent of adults by November.
“That will certainly help the situation for the event in January,” he added.