The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the Australian summer of tennis with the Kooyong Classic scheduled for January 2021 cancelled.
Used as a traditional Australian Open warm-up for several leading players, officials put the safety of players first and decided not to stage the event.
Last year Aussie star Nick Kyrgios was among the players to turn out at the event.
“We really feel that this is the right thing to do,” Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club president Peter Carew said.
“Our number one priority is the safety of players, spectators, our sponsors and the KLTC staff.
“At this stage there are so many unknowns but we hope, like all Australians, that we can beat COVID-19 as soon as possible.
“There is also the uncertainty around the Australian Open and how other events around it will be presented, which adds other complexities in planning.”
Australian Open officials are forging ahead with plans to stage the first Grand Slam of 2021, albeit with strict biosecurity rules.
Tournament director Craig Tiley said recently five bubbles would be opened around the country in the six weeks immediately before the start of the 2021 Australian Open, allowing players to get to Australia and bypass the nation’s quarantine measures.
“We’re going to open our bio-bubble from the first of December and players can come at any time,” Tiley told Reuters.
“When the players arrive, our expectation is they’re not going to be in a hotel for 14 days like the current requirements are. We’ll have an exemption within this bio-secure bubble.
“We’ve said every year that we’re the ’happy slam’. But now we’re saying we’re the ’very safe and happy slam’.”