Tuesday, October 26News That Matters

Christmas is CANCELLED for those playing in the Australian Open

Anyone hoping to emulate US Open champion Emma Raducanu by qualifying for the next tennis Grand Slam will probably have to cancel their Christmas.

It is also expected that any festivities will not be taking place at home for main draw players at the Australian Open, with charter flights to Melbourne leaving in the midst of the holiday period.

Plans are advanced for the qualifying tournament to take place in the Middle East, with the most likely date for the final qualifying round said to be Christmas Eve.

Anyone hoping to emulate US Open champion Emma Raducanu (above) by qualifying for the next tennis Grand Slam will probably have to cancel their Christmas

Anyone hoping to emulate US Open champion Emma Raducanu (above) by qualifying for the next tennis Grand Slam will probably have to cancel their Christmas

Anyone hoping to emulate US Open champion Emma Raducanu (above) by qualifying for the next tennis Grand Slam will probably have to cancel their Christmas

Either side of that planes are due to be leaving for Melbourne for all players and their staff, with the Australian government requiring them to spend time in a quarantine bubble ahead of warm-up tournaments in January.

Australian Open officials confirmed that this is the outline of their Covid-induced plans for the 2022 event, though exact dates of qualifying have yet to be finalised.

According to tour sources, the women’s preliminary event will take place in Dubai with the men in Abu Dhabi. Chartered planes for tournament personnel will depart from the region around December 23-26.

Festivities will not be taking place at home for main draw players at the Australian Open, with charter flights to Melbourne leaving in the midst of the holiday period

Festivities will not be taking place at home for main draw players at the Australian Open, with charter flights to Melbourne leaving in the midst of the holiday period

Festivities will not be taking place at home for main draw players at the Australian Open, with charter flights to Melbourne leaving in the midst of the holiday period

They are planning for the qualifying tournament for the Australian open (above) to take place in the Middle East, with the most likely date for the final round said to be Christmas Eve

They are planning for the qualifying tournament for the Australian open (above) to take place in the Middle East, with the most likely date for the final round said to be Christmas Eve

They are planning for the qualifying tournament for the Australian open (above) to take place in the Middle East, with the most likely date for the final round said to be Christmas Eve

A similar thing happened in January, but there was no clash with Christmas as the Australian Open was put back to February 8. Next year the main draw will revert to a more familiar date of January 17.

Health officials in Melbourne want players and their teams to arrive well in advance to serve a form of restrictions which will allow them a certain amount of practice and training, within a controlled bubble.

Tennis Australia supremo Craig Tiley said players who are vaccinated will be treated differently from those who are not, with more freedoms and potentially a looser quarantine offered to the double-jabbed.

Tennis Australia supremo Craig Tiley said players who are vaccinated will be treated differently to those who are not, with more freedoms and potentially a looser quarantine offered out

Tennis Australia supremo Craig Tiley said players who are vaccinated will be treated differently to those who are not, with more freedoms and potentially a looser quarantine offered out

Tennis Australia supremo Craig Tiley said players who are vaccinated will be treated differently to those who are not, with more freedoms and potentially a looser quarantine offered out

Andy Murray has further signalled his intention to play a full autumn schedule by accepting a wildcard into Antwerp¿s European Open, scene of his post-hip operation triumph in 2019

Andy Murray has further signalled his intention to play a full autumn schedule by accepting a wildcard into Antwerp¿s European Open, scene of his post-hip operation triumph in 2019

Andy Murray has further signalled his intention to play a full autumn schedule by accepting a wildcard into Antwerp’s European Open, scene of his post-hip operation triumph in 2019

Melbourne is currently seeing violent street protests and is in the midst of its sixth lockdown. This week the city assumes the mantle of the place that has been locked down longer than anywhere else in the world in its attempts to control the virus. 

Raducanu would be one of many affected by tennis’s migration south, though she has her mind on more immediate matters. The Flushing Meadows champion, returning to the practice court this week, has entered the $565,000 Kremlin Cup in Moscow next month. The 500-level event comes straight after the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Andy Murray has further signalled his intention to play a full autumn schedule by accepting a wildcard into Antwerp’s European Open, scene of his post-hip operation triumph in 2019. Murray sealed his highest-ranked win of the season on Tuesday night, beating world No 26 Ugo Humbert 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Moselle Open in Metz.