Australian Open to continue as Melbourne prepares for five day lockdown

Australian Open matches will go ahead despite Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement that Melbourne will enter a five day, stage four, lockdown from 11:59pm tonight in response to five new COVID-19 cases being identified over the past 24 hours.

From midnight, the Open will become a workplace for essential workers only – including athletes and key staff such as broadcasting personnel – rather than an entertainment event, meaning crowds will be prohibited.

Ash Barty is set to play tomorrow

Nine, which broadcasts the Australian Open, declined to comment.

Should tonight’s match up between Nick Kyrgios and Dominic Thiem, set to commence around 7pm, stretch out to become a nail biter, the sold out crowd will be cleared at 11:30pm, Tennis Australia confirmed.

Premier Andrews advised people not to attend events for the rest of the day, before the lockdown kicks in at 11:59pm.

“AFLW or that event or any number of other large and small professional sport events, they will function essentially as a workplace,” the Premier confirmed.

“But they will not function as an entertainment event, because there will be no crowds. And the workforce will be the minimum that is needed in order for that to be COVID-safe and safe in lots of other contexts.”

In a statement, the Australian Open reiterated that “sessions today and tonight will continue as planned with COVIDSafe protocols in place”.

“We are notifying ticketholders, players and staff that there will be no fans onsite at the AO for five days, commencing from Saturday 13 February,” it said.

“Full refunds will be available for anyone who has tickets for these sessions and they will be advised on how to apply as soon as possible.

“The AO broadcast-only contingency plan will commence from Saturday 13 February until restrictions are lifted. Play will continue uninterrupted on the broadcast, albeit without spectators onsite.”

We will provide further updates on the new conditions as soon as possible.

It appears unlikely that any other major sporting events will take place over the weekend, with the APL commissioner Greg O’Rourke confirming that no A-League or W-League football games will take place during the lockdown period.

“Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation in Victoria, we have taken the decision to halt any travel this weekend involving any Victorian-based teams. This extends to any teams that were scheduled to travel to Victoria,” he said.

“The APL will continue to monitor the situation based on government and health advice before committing to reschedule matches.”

Mumbrella has reached out to Seven and for comment on what the impact to upcoming AFLW games will be.


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