Australian Open reveal plans to fly players and staff to Melbourne

Australian Open organisers reveal plans to charter 18 planes from three different locations to fly players and staff to Melbourne

  • Organisers will lay on up to 18 planes to fly players to Melbourne this month
  • The planes will be flown at only 20 per cent capacity to protect players and staff 
  • Planes will depart from up to three different locations around the world 

The Australian Open will lay on as many as eighteen planes to fly players to Melbourne this month from potentially three different locations around the world.

They will be flown at only 20% capacity to keep competitors and their accompanying staff as safe as possible on the long journey.

As Sportsmail revealed earlier this week, with ten days left before the due departure date players have been left in the dark over exactly how they will be making a trip already fraught with uncertainty.

Australian Open organisers will lay on as many as eighteen planes to fly players to Melbourne

On Tuesday Tennis Australia supremo Craig Tiley issued an update on what is a major project to airlift competitors to a city which looks set to postpone its March-scheduled Formula One Grand Prix.

Tiley remains bullish about the global tennis event starting on February 8, but admitted organising the planes had been a taxing task.

‘There have been some unavoidable delays finalising flight details for players, there are a lot of pieces to this logistical puzzle,’ he said. ‘We appreciate your patience and are conscious that timelines are very tight.’

The planes are due to depart from Dubai, Singapore and Los Angeles in the middle of next week. The tournament has also needed to find a new player hotel in Melbourne, after being threatened with legal action by apartment owners at one of the complexes it was hoping to use.

Seven GB singles players are guaranteed entry to the Australian Open including Andy Murray

Meanwhile tennis was mourning the death of Australian Bob Brett, one of the sport’s best known coaches, who has died aged 67.

A protégé of legendary Australian coach Harry Hopman, Brett spent a brief spell with the Lawn Tennis Association but was best-known for his string of successful individual partnerships.

He coached Boris Becker to the world number one position in the late eighties, while Croatians Goran Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic were among those who also benefitted from his experience.

‘He understood the personality behind the player,’ Becker told Sportsmail. ‘Some coaches have just one way of practising but Bob was great at finding what made you tick and tailoring the way you trained. He always worked you hard but treated you like a grown-up. He was a nice guy, very well-read and someone who could talk about anything from politics to science.’

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