Playing Australian Open straight after quarantine quite risky, warn tennis stars

Novak Djokovic is the defending Australian Open champion

Novak Djokovic has committed to defending his Australian Open title regardless of the quarantine measures but the world No1 called on officials down under to allow players to train and compete during their confinement.

But Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews questioned whether players needed to arrive so early and said that the state government was still working with TA on quarantine arrangements.

With players facing a 14-day quarantine, any delay could make it hard to hold the high-profile ATP Cup and other tournaments before the Australian Open's scheduled start on January 18 in Melbourne.

Djokovic hinted the Australian Open could be pushed back by a week to allow for both the quarantine measures and for some competition before the first Grand Slam of the season.

Asked about the looming Australian Open, defending champion and record-setting eight-time victor Djokovic told reporters following his ATP Finals loss to Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday: "There's several options I hear that are on the table and I think Tennis Australia has been very communicative and very open with the process with us players". But it's also not in their hands obviously, the government of Australia decides and Victoria on the conditions and restrictions and so forth.

Andrews seems committed to making things work with Tennis Australia, but admits he was taken aback at what he deems to be premature reporting on the movement of all tournaments to Victoria.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14: Eugenie Bouchard of Canada looks on during in her qualifying match against Xiaodi You of China during 2020 Australian Open Qualifying at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.

"So we have to, as men's and women's tennis and the ATP, WTA, everybody involved, we have to consider what are the ramifications of maybe potentially some decisions that are going to be made in terms of the calendar in Australia and how that's going to affect the Tour after that".

Rod Laver Arena
Rod Laver Arena

'You will be able to have at least a tournament or two prior to the Australian Open, which for majority of the players is important.

Playing the Australian Open with no preparation time would be "very dangerous", Brazilian doubles specialist Bruno Soares warned on Wednesday, after lead-up events to the Grand Slam were thrown into further doubt.

The ATP acknowledged the uncertainty around the start of the Australian Open, but they hoped for more clarity soon from the concerned authorities.

Djokovic was easily swept aside by Russian star Medvedev 6-3 6-3 at the O2 Arena in London midweek.

Following that defeat, he said: "It was just not a great match from my side".

The Australian Open, he said, "is 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". "Especially towards the end of the first set and beginning of the second".

"Credit to Tennis Australia and to Craig Tiley, I think they're trying the best they can".



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