Tue, 26 May 2020

Australian Open organisers are putting contingency plans in place for the 2021 tournament, including the option to potentially play behind closed doors.

There will be no tennis tournaments before 13 July this year after the ATP and WTA Tours suspended all events due to Covid-19.

It meant Wimbledon had to be cancelled for the first time since World War II, while the French Open was moved to September and the Tokyo Games postponed until 2021.

However, the powers that be have admitted that there are no guarantees that the Tours will resume in July.

Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley had previously conceded that it "is going to be tough" for tennis to "come back this year".

And Tiley has now revealed that Australian Open officials are examining "many scenarios" for next year's event just in case the sport is still struggling with the aftermath of Covid-19 at the start of the 2021 season.

"There is just so much uncertainty as to what is going to happen in the next month let alone the next eight months," he said in a statement.

"These extraordinary times dictate a need for agility and extensive planning that explores a very wide range of options.

"We have to be prepared for a changed environment. We obviously hope that as a community, we are through Covid-19 as quickly and safely as is possible. But we don't know which of the current measures being used to try and contain the spread of infection will still need to be in place for the medium to long term.

"For example, with such a high-dependency on international travel we are looking at what we might have to do if players need to be quarantined for any length of time before being allowed to freely move around Australia.

"Another example is if mass gatherings are still not allowed or severely restricted next year, we are looking at the possibility of running an event for broadcast. These are just two of many scenarios we have to examine."

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