Novak Djokovic urges politicians to let players compete during pre-Australian Open quarantine

Novak Djokovic has urged Australian authorities to allow players to compete during their quarantine period as the viability of the Australian Open was called into question.

Tennis Australia, the ATP and WTA had been planning on the proviso that most players would look to arrive in the country in mid-December in order to complete a mandatory two-week quarantine prior to competing in warm-up events for the first grand slam of 2021 in the first two weeks of January.

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Tournament director Craig Tiley announced that the warm-up events would all be held in Victoria to prevent issues with players travelling between states, but Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews responded that it was not “a done deal” and on Tuesday night it was revealed that players are unlikely to be allowed into Australia until the end of December at the earliest.

A two-week quarantine would therefore leave less than a week until the planned start of the Australian Open on January 18.

It had been expected that players would be allowed to train during that fortnight but not compete in tournaments, a stance that Djokovic is hoping will be relaxed.

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“I’m planning to play Australian Open for sure. I would like to go there and I’m ready to quarantine for two weeks and whatever is necessary for me to be able to play,” reigning Australian Open champion Djokovic said.

“I hope that there is going to be support and understanding from the Victorian and Australian government for the players and for Tennis Australia and that they will allow players to compete in the second week of quarantine.

“Hopefully that’s going to help tremendously with the calendar and everything, and you won’t be then losing a week. You will be able to have at least a tournament or two prior to the Australian Open, which for the majority of the players is important.”

Tiley has previously said that nothing is off the table in terms of timings, raising the possibility that the Australian Open could be moved back a week or two, but that would be a major logistical undertaking so close to the event and would cause major ramifications for the tournaments due to follow after.

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