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'I don't see a lot changing' - Analyst says loss of fans shouldn't affect Australian Open

Australian Open at sunset

The Australian Open will not be impacted by the loss of fans from Melbourne Park, says Eurosport expert Barbara Schett.

The return of fans into arenas has been a feature of the tournament, with the public largely absent from events for almost 12 months now due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, a small outbreak of Covid-19 in Melbourne, where there are now 13 confirmed cases, has prompted the Victorian government to enforce a five-day circuit-breaker lockdown.

That means the Australian Open will, hopefully temporarily, resort to the 'bubble' protocols for a behind-closed-doors event.

"I don’t think it changes the dynamic of the tournament too much," Schett, who now lives in Australia, told Eurosport.

"The players are shut off, they are in a bubble anyway, so for them not much will change except for the crowd and the dynamic of the tournament shouldn’t be interrupted at all.

"I think Tennis Australia were in a position where they knew something could happen if any cases popped up, the Victorian government is pretty fast shutting things down.

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"To be honest, I don’t see a lot changing at the Australian Open, it’s still going to continue, obviously without crowds.

"Players are used to playing without crowds but the tournament is happening and continuing.

"The crowds will be back in five days for basically the finish of the tournament, the semi-finals and finals which is good.

"Craig Tiley and Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria are very close, very tight, and it’s just the way it goes in Australia.

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