'Will continue as planned': Australian Open organizers to go ahead with tournament despite snap lockdown

WION Web Team
Melbourne, Australia Published: Feb 12, 2021, 11:07 AM(IST)

Australian Open Photograph:( Reuters )

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"We are notifying ticket holders, players and staff that there will be no fans onsite at the Australian Open for five days, commencing from Saturday."

The Australian city of Melbourne has gone into a snap five-day lockdown on Friday after the latest outbreak of UK variant of COVID-19 strain. However, the organisers of the Australian Open have said that the Grand Slam will go ahead without crowds over the next five days. 

ALSO READ: Melbourne orders snap coronavirus lockdown during Australian Open tennis

"Australian Open sessions today and tonight will continue as planned with COVID safe protocols in place," organisers Tennis Australia said in a statement.

"We are notifying ticket holders, players and staff that there will be no fans onsite at the Australian Open for five days, commencing from Saturday."

Fans, who bought the tickets in these five days, will get a refund.  

COVID measures were announced by State Premier Daniel Andrews after 13 people tested positive with UK strain. 

Andrews said the Australian Open would be treated like any other professional sporting event in the state.

"Large and small professional sport events ... will function essentially as a workplace," he told reporters in Melbourne.

"But they will not function as an entertainment event, because there will be no crowds."

Year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, was delayed by three weeks due to coronavirus pandemic. But the tournament went ahead as over 1,000 players and support staff underwent 14 days of quarantine.

Warm-up tournament for the Grand Slam was cancelled after a 1,000 players and support staff underwent 14 days of quarantine. All players, staff were tested again and were clear of infection. 

Initially, the Australian Open was set to host matches under 50 per cent capacity (30,000 viewers per day), but only 21,000 people attended the event on Thursday. 

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