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Australian Open Organizer Allows Players With Covid-19 To Still Compete


Australian Open organiser allows players with Covid-19 to still compete. At this year's Australian Open, players will not be required to submit to any Covid-19 testing and will be allowed to compete even if they are infected with the virus.

The Announcement

It was revealed by the director of the Australian Open, Craig Tiley, that players will be able to compete at this year's hard-court Grand Slam even if they have Covid-19. However, Tiley was unmoved when it was suggested that the event should reconsider its time slot in the calendar. He stated that the tournament will not change its time slot.

Craig Tiley being interviewed
Craig Tiley being interviewed

Next week will mark the beginning of the first Grand Slam tournament of 2023, and nine-time champion Novak Djokovic will be competing in it. Djokovic was forced to withdraw from the 2018 tournament due to visa issues stemming from his lack of vaccination status.

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The tournament that took place in January 2018 took place against the backdrop of the controversy surrounding Djokovic, and players were subjected to daily drug tests. In comparison, the Open that took place in 2021 was contained within a bio-secure bubble.

As a result of rules being loosened in the nation over the course of the previous year, a cricketer named Matt Renshaw was able to play for Australia in a Test match against South Africa in Sydney last week despite having contracted the virus known as Covid-19.

Tiley told reporters at Melbourne Park that competitors are not required to test for coronavirus this year, in addition to the revelation that she had previously made.

It’s a normalised environment for us and, not dissimilar to the cricket, there will potentially be players that will compete with Covid. We just wanted to follow what’s currently in the community. We have gone a step further by making a recommendation around staying away when you’re ill and that our medical staff will continue to monitor that with players individually as well. We’ve made it clear to our players, as well as our staff, if anyone is feeling unwell, stay at home.

- Craig Tiley

Tiley also dismissed suggestions that the Australian Open should reevaluate its time slot in the wake of several high-profile withdrawals, including that of world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and two-time champion Naomi Osaka, who will not be competing in the event. Tiley said that these suggestions were "ridiculous."

Although there are those who believe that the date of the tournament, in conjunction with the length of the tennis season, will always have an effect on the season-opening Grand Slam, Tiley maintains that the date will not be moved.

He said:

I did read that. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous – a bizarre claim. You talk to every player, this is the season. It starts in January. It starts here in Australia.The sport does need to get together and look at the length of [the season]. It finishes with Davis Cup late on the men’s side and not as late on the women’s side but I do think it’s a long season. We’ve been talking about that for a long time.

- Craig Tiley

The Australian Open

The Australian Open, which began in 1905 as the Australasian championships, has grown to become one of the most important sporting events in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Australian Open, dubbed "the happy slam," is the most attended Grand Slam event, with over 812,000 people expected to attend the 2020 tournament. With its three primary courts, Rod Laver Arena, John Cain Arena, and the refurbished Margaret Court Arena, it was also the first Grand Slam tournament to feature indoor play during inclement weather or extreme heat.

The Australian Open is a significant contributor to the Victorian economy: the 2020 Australian Open injected $387.7 million into the Victorian economy, while the Australian Open contributed more than $2.71 billion in economic benefits to Victoria and generated 1775 jobs for the state over the previous decade, with these jobs primarily in the accommodation, hotels, cafés, and trade services sectors.

Final Words

Tiley insisted that the majority of players acknowledge that the tournament takes place at the beginning of January and that they are content to travel to Australia during that time of the year.

He continued:

But Australia is the summer, Australia is January and this event is, from the players’ perspective, one of their favourite places to play. They’re coming here earlier, we’re now seeing players here for six weeks, for seven weeks and the preparation for the Australian summer is very normalised. They know what they need to do.

- Craig Tiley

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