The men’s and women’s Australian Open golf tournaments have been cancelled due to COVID related travel restrictions –– thus raising concerns over the future of other sporting events in the country.
Australia’s borders are some of the strictest in the world –– remaining effectively shut at present and unlikely to re-open until 2022. Those who are allowed to travel to the country, including athletes, are required to complete two weeks of mandatory quarantine on arrival.
Golf Australia had already postponed both the men’s and women’s events to January and February 2022 respectively, but with the majority of the world’s top stars from the US and Europe still facing complications over travel, the tournament has now been cancelled.
Speaking about the decision, Golf Australia CEO, James Sutherland, said: The decision has not been made lightly but we believe it to be the right outcome under the current circumstances.
"The international element means shifting quarantine and travel restrictions wreak havoc on planning and, with our marquee players living abroad, the challenge is even greater."
The cancellation of golf’s Australian Open has also sparked fears regarding the tennis Grand Slam of the same name.
With the tournament set to be held in January 2022, some players would likely be forced to sacrifice Christmas in order to quarantine in time for the main draw.
Last year, the likes of Victoria Azarenka and Heather Watson both spoke of the difficulties of coping with a ‘hard’ quarantine and many players are expected to withdraw from the event should restrictions stay as they are.
Added to this, Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, has introduced a vaccine mandate for all professional athletes.
While it has not been confirmed whether athletes from overseas or other Australian states must also vaccinate, Victoria sports minister, Martin Pakula, has urged players to do so regardless.
"If I was an ATP or WTA player, I'd be getting vaccinated," Pakula told local radio station SEN.
"That will give them the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open with the more minimal restrictions that might be in place for those people.
“As for the rules that might apply around the Australian Open, specifically, we're in discussions with Tennis Australia and the department of health about that."News Now - Sport News