Judy Murray reckons the rest of the tennis season should be written off even as the Australian Open organisers are mulling over the idea of playing the tournament to a closed stadium next year.
Things have reached grave enough level in the tennis world with the coronavirus outbreak having already officially cancelled all tennis tournaments till mid-July. And if some of the experts are to be believed, we could be looking at more such pain before things show any signs of normalcy.
Murray, writing in her column for the Sunday Post, has advised the top tennis brass it would be easier to cancel the rest of the season and start afresh next year instead of attempting to “postpone, rearrange and cram the back end of the year with tournaments”.
She has reasoned, the biggest issue with a sport like tennis is players and their team travel from various parts of the world and with the travel industry looking like it would be the most hit because of the restrictions, things could get tougher.
“For the foreseeable future, there will be lots of travel restrictions and I imagine players and officials will be reluctant to visit certain countries for fear of the virus still being at large, therefore, until there is a vaccine, it could take significantly longer to get The Tour back on track.”
The seriousness of the issue from the point of view of tennis getting back on its feet can also be gauged from the fact the Australian Open organisers have already begun to rethink their strategy for the next edition of the competition.
The Australian Open is the only Grand Slam played this year so far and that they are revisiting what they could do for the next tournament which is a good nine months or so away speaks volumes about the issue.
Craig Tiley, who is the Australian Open Tournament Director, said there were various things they were considering but one of them is to go ahead with the tournament with no crowds.
He said one of the factors to consider was to find a way to quarantine players for a period of time after they landed in Australia if needed. Tiley added:
“Another example is if mass gatherings are still not allowed or severely restricted next year, we are looking at the possibility of running an event for broadcast. These are just two of many scenarios we have to examine.”
For now, the US Open and French Open are still considering going ahead with the competitions in August-September with the hope the outbreak is contained till then.