Australian Open Goes Forth With Priority On Public Health

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Whoever said politics and sports don’t mix may wish to rethink their stance on this matter. On Saturday afternoon in Melbourne, the Victoria State Government and Tennis Australia, the governing body for the Australian Open, formally announced the dates and conditions of the 2021 Australian Open, which will be held at Melbourne Park from Feb. 8-21. With public health as a top priority and with a lot of money and prestige at stake, the “Happy Slam” will go forth in 2021.

The public face and voice of Tennis Australia, chief executive Craig Tiley, presided over a press conference inside Rod Laver Arena in making the announcement.

Of particular note:

• Tennis Australia has extended its Australian Open commitment to Melbourne and Victoria by three years, guaranteeing that the Australian Open will remain a summer fixture in the nation’s sporting capital for at least another 19 years – through 2039.

• The partnership ensures Tennis Australia’s continued support of sub-professional tournaments and regional and community tennis events in Victoria, as well as enhanced explore for Victoria during the tournament.

Much has been publicized and written about the strict, 14-day quarantine protocols required of all players and teams demanded by the Victoria State Government. So, why is it so important to Tennis Australia and the ATP Tour and WTA that the “show” go on in Melbourne in 2021? Consider this: The Australian Open attracts thousands of visitors to Melbourne and this year’s event in 2020 contributed more than $380 million to the Victorian economy.

“Melbourne is the home of the biggest sporting events and it’s fantastic that arrangements have been settled for Melbourne Park in February,”said Jaclyn Symes, acting minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events. “The 2021 Open will look a bit different and that’s necessary to ensure the safety of everyone, from players, ball kids and the wider community.”

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World No. 2 Rafael Nadal is featured in an interview with Mallorca Caprice magazine.

“I believe that the pandemic has affected us all and has altered our lives in a remarkable way. It is clear that the first thought and the words are for those directly affected, who are those who were sick, those who are still sick, and especially the families of the many deceased who are not few. A tragedy. The rest is relative and that we have to change routines, that we have suffered alterations in our lives, in the end that goes to the background. Now we have to think about rebuilding everything, that people heal, that the pandemic ends and that we can recover our freedom.”

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