12 Feb 2021: Australian Open 2021: Players to compete in biosecure bubble
With Melbourne going into a five-day lockdown, the Australian Open 2021 event is set to continue with fans banned as players will compete in a biosecure "bubble".
Authorities fear Victoria state is on the brink of the third coronavirus wave with the city's five-million residents ordered to remain at home from midnight.
There will be limited number of permitted essential activities.
AO: Spectators will not be allowed anymore
According to AFP, State Premier Daniel Andrews said the Melbourne Park tennis venue would be considered a "work place" that could continue to function with limited staff.
Meanwhile, the spectators, who had been permitted over the first five days in limited numbers, will no longer be allowed from Saturday.
The players are keen to continue the tournament but must follow strict new rules.
Comments: Play will continue, says Australian Open chief Craig Tiley
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley confirmed that play will continue.
"Play will continue," said tournament chief Craig Tiley. "The players will compete in a bubble form."
"Those who will be allowed on site will be the players only and their support teams, as well as staff members who will be unable to do their work from home," he added.
Site: Who will be on site?
Tiley highlighted the personnel who will be on site for the Australian Open.
"Those who will be allowed on site will be the players only and their support teams, as well as staff members who will be unable to do their work from home," he said.
"Those who are essential for the delivery of the event will be on site."
COVID-19: COVID-19 had impacted the Australian Open 2021
The COVID-19 had already impacted the Australian Open 2021 significantly, with 72 players forced into hard lockdown for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne.
That was followed by eight positive tests on the charter flights that brought more than 1,000 players and officials into the country.
Only one player, Spain's Paula Badosa, contracted the virus.
Fact: Here is the official statement