26 Oct 2021, 11:59

Major warm-up for Australian Open tennis cancelled again over virus

  MELBOURNE, Oct 26, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - A major warm-up tournament for the

Australian Open was cancelled on Tuesday, with organisers blaming uncertainty
over Covid-19 rules players will face in Melbourne.

  It is the second year the Kooyong Classic, normally played in the weeks
leading up to the season-opening Grand Slam, has been scrapped because of the
coronavirus pandemic.

  Kooyong president Adam Cossar said he was disappointed the event could not
take place in January 2022 but hopes it will return in 2023.

  "With the great deal of uncertainty over recent months about the
arrangements that would be in place in January, it has not been possible to
make the best plans to deliver the best and safest sporting (event)," he said
in a statement.

  Players are still awaiting clarification on whether they need to be fully
vaccinated to participate at the Australian Open, also in Melbourne, and
other tennis tournaments in the country.

  Such a requirement would cast doubt on nine-time Australian Open champion
Novak Djokovic's ability to defend his title -- he is one of many players who
have refused to share their vaccination status.

  A leaked WTA email this week suggested unvaccinated players could take part
provided they completed 14 days in hotel quarantine. Double-jabbed players
would though enjoy "complete freedom of movement".

  However, the Premier of Victoria -- the state where the Grand Slam is held
-- said he wanted all players to be fully vaccinated.

  "All the people who are watching the tennis at the Australian Open, they're
going to be double-vaxxed, all the people that work there are going to be
double-vaxxed," Dan Andrews told public radio.

  "It stands to reason that if you want to get into the country to be part of
that tournament, then you should be double-vaxxed as well."

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