Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tennis Australia to wait and watch as new Covid variant threat looms large

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley says the organisation is working with the government as the new COVID-19 variant Omicron threatens to spoil the summer of tennis.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the new version of coronavirus that was discovered in South Africa as “a variant of concern”.

As it stands, the Australian Open is scheduled to commence on January 17.

And while the vaccine mandate has cast doubts on the availability of superstars Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, the new COVID-19 variant may just be the biggest challenge facing the tournament.

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“We knew when we announced the event there would be some more challenges – that’s just the nature of the world we’ve been living in for the past two years,” Tiley told Nine’s Sports Sunday.

“We’re still waiting. I’ve been talking to the government… there’s still a lot of unanswered questions around this [new COVID-19 variant].

“I think in the next 14 days we will have some clarity, but at this point, the plans are going ahead as they are.

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“We’re looking forward to 100 per cent capacity crowd… the first charter flight arrives on the 28th of December.”

The Tennis Australia boss said he hopes to get more information before the tournament gets underway.

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“There’s still a lot to play out. There’s a lot of unanswered questions, which we will hopefully get to soon,” Tiley added.

“But at this point, everything is as it was two days ago.”

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