Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews Casts Fresh Doubt Over January's Australian Open
Thinking of going to the Australian Open? Keep dreaming.
Thinking of kicking back at home and watching it on television with a beer-in-hand? Ummm, we'll get back to you on that one.
That's right, the prospect of Melbourne hosting the prestigious Australian Open tennis tournament is still a long shot in the eyes of the state's premier.
Despite seemingly recovering from its coronavirus outbreak which saw Victorians in lockdown for months on end, Daniel Andrews says it's "far from a done deal" that the summer of tennis will be played in Melbourne's backyard.
And judging by the look of things, that'll be a huge dent in Tennis Australia's (TA) grand plans.
The sport's governing body plans on adopting the same framework that was instrumental in helping both the NRL and AFL keep playing during the global pandemic.
It's understood TA wants to introduce a safeguarded 'bubble' or 'hub' in Melbourne to house the athletes while they compete.
On top of that, they plan on centralising the competitions by moving all Australian tournaments - which are normally held in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart - to the Victorian capital.
But the state's premier isn't convinced the bold plans will be signed off anytime soon.
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"The notion this is all tied up with a bow, it's a done deal, that's simply wrong," Andrews said.
"The public health team needs to sign off on all of these arrangements and they are just not settled.
"We want the event to happen, just like the Boxing Day Test, but the thing about the cricket compared to the tennis is it's a tiny group of people (who) we think we can quarantine.
"It's a massive event, it's an event that all of us love ... but it comes at a time when the rest of the world is on fire.
"The notion this is all a done deal and there's going to be all these tennis players turning up - no, this is not settled at all.
"It's an important event, absolutely, but avoiding a third wave is arguably even more important.
"This needs to be done on the best of public health advice."
A number tennis' biggest stars have opted out of tournaments this year as a result of the travel restrictions surrounding COVID-19 - that includes Aussie duo Ash Barty and Nick Kyrgios.
World number one Barty made headlines when she announced that she would not be defending her French Open title this year.
As for Kyrgios, he decided to take the year off completely.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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