Barty, but no party at next Adelaide International?

Davida Erdahl

While AI tournament director Alistair MacDonald is planning for the second chapter of the event from January 10-16 as normal, fans could be banned from the stadium because of the fallout of COVID-19. This follows a statement from Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tilley when he said the Australian Open […]

While AI tournament director Alistair MacDonald is planning for the second chapter of the event from January 10-16 as normal, fans could be banned from the stadium because of the fallout of COVID-19.

This follows a statement from Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tilley when he said the Australian Open could be run from January 18-31 for broadcast if mass gatherings are still not allowed or severely restricted next year.

TA is also preparing for the possibility of international players being forced into quarantine when they arrive in Australia.

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Whatever decisions TA makes for the opening grand slam of the year are almost certain to be reflected in Adelaide, given it owns the event.

“There is a lot of scenario planning going on,” MacDonald said.

“When TA says it is looking at playing with no crowds it is a business looking through all the options and scenario planning.

“Obviously, we will follow suit.

“If there is no Australian Open, obviously there is an issue so it is unlikely we will run.

“If there are no crowds in Melbourne, the Adelaide event will most likely follow suit.

“But at this stage we are planning the AI as is, and with full crowds.

“Watching the first round of the footy, and I’m a Carlton fan, it was not the same without the fans.

“You don’t get that emotion and the players feeding off the fans.”

The ATP and WTA Tours have been suspended until at least July 31, Wimbledon has already been cancelled and the French Open has been pushed back until September.

The Canadian Masters in August is the latest tennis tournament impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, with sporting events and festivals in that country banned until the end of that month.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi admits tennis could be among the last sports to resume because of the international travel.

MacDonald has a weekly phone hook up with TA and the WTA, while he will have a regular chat with the ATP this week.

“International travel will probably be the final thing when we get back to some sort of normality,” MacDonald said.

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“Being at the start of the year there is an opportunity to look at options of quarantining players.

“But it will come down to what options there are for the international players to travel and where they have been previously.

“We have not thought through that part yet, but from July onwards we, being a collective with the other (Australian Open) lead in events ATP Cup, Hobart and Brisbane and the Open, will start to look at what those travel restrictions might mean.”

MacDonald will start the player recruitment process in July.

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