“We’ve got to work through those things in a methodical way. It’s an important event. Absolutely. But avoiding a third wave is arguably even more important, but we’ll keep working through those issues. I think we can have the event go ahead, but it’s going to have to look different.”
He said while there was a “preference to have it located in one place,” the public health team needed to sign off on all the arrangements.
“The notion that this is all tied up with a bow, it’s a done deal. That’s simply wrong.
“The public health team need to sign off on all of these arrangements. And they are just not settled, we want the event to happen just like we want the Boxing Day Test. But the thing about the cricket is, compared to the tennis, it’s a tiny group of people that we think we can quarantine. The challenges involved in the Australian Open are very, very different.”
In the report, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said international players would travel directly to Melbourne to quarantine in a “bubble” for two weeks, rather than multiple Australian cities.
Brisbane Tennis, the Twitter account for the ATP Cup and WTA Brisbane International tournaments, tweeted on Monday stating the events would be shifting to Victoria.
“All lead-in events to the Australian Open will be held in Victoria to ensure all players can safely compete in, and prepare for, the grand slam. See you in 2022!”
The Hobart International released a statement on Monday saying it had “been decided that the Australian summer of tennis will be played in Victoria in 2021”.
Andrews said he was being “as frank as I can” so it would be clear that the process in making a decision about the summer of tennis was ongoing.
“We just have to make sure that we’ve done all the preparatory work, and that we in that ultimate sense, the public health team, make a judgment that this can be done safely.
“Those judgments have not been made, yet. We’re all working very hard to get to that point. And I’m not criticising the the story as it’s written … Anyone walking away from today’s paper, or from this press conference, hopefully, they’re not thinking that this is all just fixed; it is active, live, it is ongoing.”
He said the government would make an announcement once the plans were resolved.
According to the report, more than 500 players from around the world will have to twice test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed into the bubble.
“There is now no risk of the Australian Open going ahead without everyone in Victoria and we didn’t have that guarantee previously,” Tiley told News Corp.
“Now it’s a matter of working out with the Victorian government what the quarantining program looks like, that it ensures the safety of the community and then of course the safety of the players coming in.”
He said the lead-up events would be “redesigned” and there could be even more events staged after the grand slam.
Sam McClure is a sport reporter for The Age and winner of ‘best news reporter’ at the AFL Media Association awards.
Claire Siracusa is a desk editor in The Age sport department.
Rachael Dexter is a breaking news reporter at The Age.