COVID-19: Australian Open can allow 50% crowd

Australian Open 2021 can be played in the presence of spectators. Tennis Australia is considering to allow up to 50% crowds during the first Grand Slam of the Year.

Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley is confident of that the tournament in Melbourne will have 25% to 50% spectators at Melbourne Park.

The Capital city of Victoria is still not open fully as the up to 15 COVID-19 cases are being reported every day. The authorities are expecting the situation to be normal around Christmas.

The US Open last month was played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 1,000 spectators per day are allowed for the ongoing Roland Garros Championship in Paris. The USA has been the most affected nation by the SARS COV-2 virus, while French has seen one of the worst waves of the virus which had spread from Wuhan, China, to over 200 countries across the world.

Tiley has confirmed that Tennis Australia will look to host the event with up to 50% of usual capacities, with the major courts set to operate as outdoor arenas.

“For them to go ahead and be successful in an environment with countries where the infection rate really high, the US Open with no crowds and the French with small crowds, we’re certainly going to be taking away some of their successes,” Sports Sunday has quoted Tiley as saying.

“We’re all going for what’s going to be a great start to the year. “We’ve also worked out with the requirements on physical distancing, we’ve still got to stay in certain physical parameters and we’ve worked out what that would be and we’re going to have crowds anywhere between 25-50% of what we’ve had before.

“All the areas that have retractable roofs will remain outdoor arenas. It’s a very outdoor site…the size of the site and the way we can physically distance people, we will enjoy having quite a fair crowd.”

Tennis Australia is also planning to introduce more events during the build-up to the Grand Slam with a bio-secure bubble.

“We’ve been talking to them every week, on Friday night, we were on a call with all the women’s players going through what it means,” added Tiley. “We’re going to have six weeks of tennis, more tennis and events than ever before.”

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