Romanian tennis player Simona Halep will be in quarantine for 14 days in Adelaide, along with the other three players in the top three spots of the professional tennis world rankings, including Serbian Novak Djokovic and Spanish Rafael Nadal, before travelling to Melbourne to take part in the Australian Open, the organizers were quoted as saying by Reuters.Hundreds of players and their entourage will arrive in Australia starting January 15 and will undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine as part of the Covid-19 health protocols provided for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, which will take place from February 8 to 21 in Melbourne Park.
The executive director of the Australian Tennis Federation, Craig Tiley, said organizers need a second city to ensure the limit set by authorities for quarantined people in Melbourne is not exceeded.
Adelaide will host the top three men's and women's players, including Australian WTA leader Ashleigh Barty and world number 2 Simona Halep, who will travel to Melbourne for a preliminary phase of the Australian Open will take place from January 31 in the same location.
Tiley also explained that the South Australian authorities accepted the quarantine of at least 50 people, only after they were offered the opportunity to organize a demonstration tour in Adelaide during that period.
We have therefore chosen the first three male and female players to take part in the demonstration tournament, which will take place on January 29 and 30," the federation leader said.
Players will be allowed to spend five hours outside their hotel rooms to train during the 14 days of quarantine, and Tiley confirmed that the health regulations will be the same in Adelaide, the home town of Simona Halep's current coach, Australian Darren Cahill.
South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall said the demonstration tour was "a huge victory" for his state. We worked hard with Tennis Australia. We will have some of the top players who will play right before the Australian Open, said Marshall.
The president of the Australian Tennis Federation also stated that he expects the Australian Open, which attracted around 800,000 spectators at the last edition, to have a grandstand occupancy of 50 percent or even 75 percent of the normal capacity this year.