The 2021 Australian Open is in doubt due to the Coronavirus.
Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said that next year’s Australian Open may be cancelled because of the pandemic and international fans unlikely to be able to attend, even if it does go ahead.
In March, the tennis season was stopped by the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 3.68 million people around the world and killed over 256,000, according to a Reuters Tally.
This year’s Australian Open took place in January as scheduled, but the organisers of the French Open have moved the clay-court major to September, while Wimbledon has been cancelled.
Next month, the fate of the U.S. Open in New York will be decided.
Tiley said next year’s Australian Open would not escape the impact of the pandemic.
“Worst-case scenario is no AO. Our best-case scenario at this point is having a tournament with players that we can get in here with quarantining techniques and Australian-only fans,” he told the Australian Associated Press.
Australia has had less than 7,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus. Fewer than 1,000 people are still sick, though 96 people have died from the virus.
The men’s ATP tour and the WTA have suspended all tournaments at least until mid-July after countries started locking down borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Both past and present players have said they fear the remainder of the 2020 season could be wiped out.
Lower-level players who depend soley on tournament winnings will be deprived of the chance to earn a living as the hiatus will continue at least until mid-July.
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Written by Rekha Kulen