‘We will get everyone to Melbourne’: Australian Open players told plan on track
Tennis Australia has moved to reassure the professional tennis playing fraternity that its plan to bring more than 1000 players and officials to Melbourne for the Australian Open remains on track.
A day after the sporting body was forced to turn to one of its contingency plans for hotel quarantine accommodation after a contract to host players at The Westin Melbourne was abruptly cancelled, TA revealed up to 18 chartered planes would be used to bring tennis officials to Melbourne.
The Age revealed this week that the owners of 36 private penthouses in the Collins Street hotel were considering a Supreme Court injunction to stop the quarantine arrangements going ahead.
The Victorian government said an alternative hotel had been secured. Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville said on Tuesday the replacement hotel would be "stood up today or tomorrow".
As part of complex plans to bring a large cohort of tennis players to Melbourne to get the delayed Australian Open off the ground, TA is utilising a number of inner-city hotels for quarantine. Players secured the right to leave their hotel rooms for a daily five-hour block of training.
The Age has previously reported that Crown Promenade was set to be one of the hotels used by Tennis Australia for quarantine.
The tennis season begins this week with a women's event in Abu Dhabi and men's tournaments in Florida and Turkey. Qualifying events for the Open are taking place in Doha (men's) and Dubai (women's) from this weekend.
Australian Open boss Craig Tiley confirmed overnight there had been delays finalising flight details for some of the players – who are set to arrive between January 15 and 17 – but pledged "we will get everyone to Melbourne".
"There have been some unavoidable delays finalising flight details for players and I'd like to take this opportunity to provide an update," Mr Tiley said on Twitter.
"There are a lot of pieces to this logistical puzzle and the last few are being finalised right now. We will have as many as 18 planes and each will be limited to 20 per cent capacity to ensure the flights are as safe as possible for everyone.
"We appreciate your patience and are conscious that time timelines are very tight. We are doing our utmost to get the flight details to the entire playing group as soon as possible. Thank you for bearing with us, we will get everyone to Melbourne."
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