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Craig Tiley insists there will be no delay to start of Australian Open to help quarantined players prepare

Australian Open at sunset

There is no possibility of the start of the Australian Open being delayed to help quarantined players, says tournament director Craig Tiley. 

Over 70 players are currently self-isolating in their hotel rooms unable to train ahead of the event due to being in close contact with someone to have returned a positive coronavirus test.

That has led to much discontent expressed on social media, with some players claiming Tennis Australia have altered the deal that promised them five hours of training every day even during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Tiley, however, insists everyone knew the risks beforehand, and delaying the start of the tournament to allow them to catch up on the lost practice is not something under consideration.

“We are planning on February the 8th. We do have that buffer time in there and we are looking forward to welcoming fans to the Australian Open.”

“Ticket sales have been going well, we have two weeks of great tennis and our intention is to absolutely continue with those dates.”

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“So far, we have had 643 negative tests and two which have been unfortunately positive.

“We knew always there was going to be significant risks. With this pandemic, you can never tell. Everyone coming into Australia either had to show evidence of negative tests or be non-infectious 72 hours before departing.

“And then, coming to Australia and going into isolation and administered another test. We always felt there would be a chance (of positive tests ahead of the event).”

“It’s unfortunate that two people have tested positive in that (two-week quarantine) window and as a result, the chief health officer has determined that those individuals who were on that plane, everyone who was on that plane was a close contact.

“We don’t know what the situation or decision would be coming in and this decision has been made and now we have to manage an environment for 14 days for those players, who, unfortunately, are not going to have the same conditions as those who are able to get and practice.”

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