As the panic for COVID-19 grows wider, the Australian Open has, on Friday, banned fans from viewing matches from the arena while players have also been directed to compete in a biosecure bubble.
The government has ordered residents of Victoria state to remain indoors as the fear of the third COVID-19 wave heightens. The only set of people permitted to be outdoor are essential workers.
State Premier, Daniel Andrews, said the Melbourne Park tennis venue would continue to function but clarified that they have made efforts to work with limited staff
He announced that fans will no longer be allowed into the tennis venue starting from Saturday as the organisers of the event intend to follow the COVID-19 laid down protocols. Andrews also said that players who plan to continue must be ready to follow the new regulations such as to wear biosecure bubble.
The tournament Chief, Craig Tiley said, “Play will continue, 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. Those who are essential for the delivery of the event will be on site .”
The announcement of lockdown was made five days into the tournament. The decision of Australian Open was conveyed to fans during a match.
According to 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams, “I didn’t know at all until the match was over. I think it’s good that I didn’t know. It’s going to be a rough few days for I think for everyone, but we’ll hopefully get through it.”
Williams powered into the fourth round with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 win over Anastasia Potapova .
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, who easily beat Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas, expressed sadness over the unavailability of fans but lauded the tournament organising body for not discontinuing the Games.