In a bid to get the Australian Open 2021 started on time, there is a possibility of the qualifiers getting the cold shoulder.
According to an article in The Age, the Australian Open organisers seem to be leaving no stone unturned to get the competition going as scheduled or to reduce the delay to as little as possible. And one of the options is to do away with the three rounds of the qualifiers which are typically held in the week leading up to the main draw.
The Australian Open was to begin on January 18 next but issues around the scheduling with a spurt in the coronavirus cases and the ensuing laws in the country because of that has made that start untenable as things stand right now.
In order for the main draw of the tournament to begin just a week late, the organisers, however, might have to cancel the qualifying rounds, like was the case at the US Open as well. This will help reduce the number of players and coaches coming into the country and in turn make it easier for the organisers.
This could allow Tennis Australia to negotiate a late December fly-in for the players in the main draw with the government, followed by a two-week quarantine, which should in turn allow them enough time to practice in the lead-up to the competition.
There’s one problem though.
The loss of qualifiers will could lead to a hue and cry from those concerned because it could mean a further loss of revenue for players ranked outside the top 100.
Many of them have already suffered substantial revenue cuts because of the curtailed previous season and the cancellation of multiple tournaments as a result.
There are other issues too. The organisers will need to take into account the tournaments before the start of the Australian Open, those which are usually played in Australian itself between the first week of January and the start of the season’s first Grand Slam. Will there be enough time for those?
And what about the competitions to be played after the Australian Open in the month of February. There’s a whole host of them including the Rotterdam Open, ATP & WTA Dubai, and not to mention the season’s first two Masters in Indian Wells and Miami in March.