The Australian Open is 'almost certain' to be pushed back to February or March according to reports coming out of Melbourne.
January has always been the traditional time for the tournament with hit marking the start of the tennis season.
However, with the Australian government implementing stricter restrictions than most to control the coronavirus, there is serious consideration being given to a delay.
A report in the Herald Sun says February or March is a more viable date for the event, particularly with hopes of a game-changing vaccine soon beginning to rise.
Victoria premier Daniel Andrews is quoted in the report saying: “I am very confident we will have an Aussie Open in the early part of next year.
“The exact timing of it, the exact arrangements we put in place, they are not settled yet and as soon as they are settled, I will be more than happy to share it with you.”
Tennis Australia have dismissed the report, though, saying via a spokesperson: "It's pure speculation
"Earlier in the week we [said] how we continue to work closely with the Victorian government and we will update with more information as soon as possible, and there's no update from that at the moment."
Brett Phillips, however, who is a respected figure in the Australian tennis media and court announcer at the Rod Laver Arena, thinks organisers will be left with little choice but to delay.
“It’s chaos, it’s delicate discussions, it’s crazy,” Phillips explained.
“It’s incredible times for TA. I’d hate to be a TA administrator or a sports administrator full stop in 2020. Next year, it’s not going to get back to normal for so many sports. There’s breaking news by the hour with the Australian Open.
“My strong feeling, just on the situation that’s happened in Victoria in the past seven or eight months and our Premier, who’s taken a fair bit of criticism for the whole hotel quarantine bungle, is that they’re taking a very cautious approach.
“I’ve just got a very strong feeling that the Australian Open is going to be pushed back possibly to March or April. This is certainly one of the scenarios that was on the table, it was talked about.
“There’s no doubt the Australian Open won’t happen on its scheduled date. It’s just a matter of whether they move it back a week or do they push it back to March, April.”
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