Australian Open date up in the air

The Australian Open remains set to go ahead next year, says Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, although the exact date of competition is still up in the air.

Victorian Premier DANIEL ANDREWS.
Victorian Premier DANIEL ANDREWS. Picture: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews is not sure exactly when the Australian Open can be held, but says people should not read too much into reports that it could be delayed by months.

Planning for the Australian Open, originally scheduled to start on January 18, has been thrown into chaos due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The major stumbling block is the Victorian Government's reported stance of not allowing incoming players to arrive until January 1.

That would give them just a handful of days to prepare for the tournament after serving their mandatory two-week quarantine period.

Reports have emerged that the Australian Open could be pushed back as late as March or April.

Although a delay is on the cards it is expected to be much shorter than that, with Andrews confident the tournament will go ahead in the "early part of next year".

"This is not a simple thing, to have many hundreds or indeed potentially well more than 1000 athletes and others who support them, media, being here for a very important event," Andrews told reporters on Saturday.

"It has to be done safely, it has to be done right. I am very confident we will have an Australian Open in the early part of next year.

"The exact timing of it, the exact arrangements we put in place, they are not settled yet and as soon as they are I will be more than happy to share it with you.

"But I would not read too much into some of the reports.

"A lot of people are doing a lot of talking about these things, and while they are talking we're getting on with the work so that we can have one of our most significant major events, not just for the state but indeed for the whole nation, happen as close to normal, as normal as anything can be ... COVID normal."

Players have expressed concerns about the proposed arrangements, saying they need more time to prepare for the year's first major.

The impact on the traditional lead-up events is also a big talking point.

Australian Open officials had originally hoped to have players arrive in the country in early December so they could play some lead-in events after serving their quarantine.