Missing a day of competition will force Australian tennis officials to stage a huge number of catch-up matches on Friday.
Missing a day of competition will force Australian tennis officials to stage a huge number of catch-up matches on Friday, with inclement weather also expected to test the resolve of organisers.
Thursday’s games were called off when a security guard tested positive for COVID-19, days after working at the Grand Hyatt, where Australian Open players and support staff were in quarantine.
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley confirmed on Thursday afternoon officials planned on completing the six events being run at Melbourne Park by Sunday.
Almost 70 matches will start from 10am on Friday, with some players scheduled to play twice.
Several Australian players could find themselves playing a second match including James Duckworth, Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson, Alex Bolt and Alexei Popyrin. Female players aren’t expected to do so on Friday, with Ash Barty set to begin the day’s play first up.
Organisers ruled WTA matches will be best-of-two sets for the duration of this week’s events, with a 10-point match tiebreak, if required, for the final set.
Rain is forecast for Melbourne on Friday with officials preparing to play under a closed roof and use Melbourne Park’s indoor courts.
If that’s the case Hawk-Eye Live technology, or electronic line-calling, won’t be available on the indoor courts.
Several tournament officials will fill in on each court to judge the lines for indoor matches, according to the Herald Sun.
Fans may need to wear masks for matches with a closed roof.
“This does give us three days for the lead-in events to complete. Obviously, tomorrow (Friday) we have some challenging weather, so we have to work around that as well,” Craig Tiley said.
“We do have the luxury of having three stadium courts and eight indoor courts, so 11 courts we can continue matches on … and that will enable us, not to get ahead, but at least be able to finish by Sunday.