The continuos rendezvous between the Australian open and coronavirus continues after a 5-day snap lockdown was announced in Melbourne yesterday.
After months of fanless tennis games, the fans had slowly but surely started to come back for the year’s first grand slam but with another spike in covid cases in Victoria, chances are that the rest of the games would continue without the presence of fans.
The lockdown, announced by State Premier Dan Andrews, is in response to 13 cases of community transmission of the UK strain of COVID-19 that spread through the Holiday Inn hotel in Melbourne.
A fanless Australian open?
The Victorian government on Friday announced the tough measures, which come into force from 11.59pm AEDT and mandate the entire state enters stage 4 lockdown.
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, said the protocols would be put into place following the discovery of the “hyper-infectious” UK strain of the virus that can be transmitted very quickly.
“Large and small professional sports events, they will function essentially as a workplace,” Andrews said. “But they will not function as an entertainment event, because there will be no crowds. And the workforce will be the minimum that is needed in order for that to be Covid-safe and safe in lots of other contexts.”
The strict measures also mean that the on-going Dominic Thiem vs Nick Kyrgios blockbuster match could potentially be the final Australian open game with crowds present.
Serena Williams, the women’s No 10 seed, expects the new measures to impact the players, but fully supported the decision to lock down.
“It’s rough,” Williams said after her third-round win on Friday. “It’s going to be a rough few days for I think everyone, but we’ll hopefully get through it. But, you know what, at the end of the day we have to do what’s best. Hopefully, it will be all right.”
Zverev and Nadal advance, Kyrgios and Thiem battle-
The German, a semi-finalist last year who is gunning for a maiden Grand Slam title, turned in an accomplished performance en route to a routine 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win in just 1hr 43mins on Rod Laver Arena.
Rafael Nadal too has advanced to the 3rd round with a straight sets 6-1,64,6-2 win over M. Mmoh and will face of C Norrie in his next match.
On the other hand,crowd favorite Nick Kyrgios was locked in an intense battle with world number 3 Dominic Thiem and was a set up at the time of writing.