The ATP Finals currently played in London are the last chapter of the professional tennis circuit in 2020. Fans are excited about a new season and another Grand Slam tournament, which is going to take place on the courts of sunny Australia. However, it’s become uncertain whether they’ll get a chance to see the world’s best male and female tennis players at all as the organisation of the event has been called into question.
The season that is now coming to an end, was a totally new experience for both players and tennis fans as they all had to get used to a new reality. Although the professional tours were suspended during the first wave of COVID-19, they were reinstated a couple of weeks later and since then, everything has gone rather smoothly. Sometimes it felt as if there had been no pandemic at all and nothing prevented the fans from enjoying what’s best in the game. They can be slightly unsatisfied though since a number of tournaments played was still rather low. On the other hand, the new season is lurking around the corner and therefore a few weeks of outstanding competition in Australia.
That’s what we wait for every year, but at this point, a month before the tournament should start, there are many question marks hanging over it. The organisers of tennis events in Australia have encountered huge obstacles because of strict sanitary restrictions imposed by the Australian government, hence players are not allowed to arrive in December. Unless something’s changed, the first Grand Slam tournament this season will be at stake.
The government is willing to let the sportsmen in, but only on 1 January. On top of that, each of them would fall under a 14-day quarantine, which obviously causes a great problem for the players. There are two main issues related to this: how to be fit for one the most important tournaments of the season without a proper training? How to get ready for the AO without having a chance to compete in lower-rank tournaments scheduled prior to it? That’s a pity, especially bearing in mind that Tennis Australia found a compromise solution under which all the preceding games would take place in the state of Victoria, in order to reduce the need to travel as much as possible.
Even though Tennis Australia (the AO organiser) assures they make every effort to negotiate the best deal, the government remains adamant. It poses a serious threat to the tournament also in terms of the players, who will soon need to make a tough decision whether coming to Australia under such restrictions makes any sense at all. Hopefully this won’t get to the point when the first Grand Slam tournament of the season turns into open championships exclusively for the in-country players.