The Australian Government decreed a “hard lockdown”, which will take effect at 11:59 p.m. this Friday, Australian time, after an employee of Brunetti's cafeteria at Melbourne airport tested positive for COVID, who could have been in contact with hundreds of travelers.
In principle, the Australian Open It is not in danger, as confirmed by the organization in a statement (“the game will continue uninterruptedly”), but from the day of this Saturday and, at least, until next Thursday, there will be no spectators at the tournament. In fact, during the last game of the day on Friday, the drama that faced Djokovic and Fritz, Fans were asked to leave the Rod Laver at 11:30 p.m. and some did so even earlier, but others delayed their departure or directly refused to leave, so the match had to be stopped until everyone left. As for the players, in this security period they will only have permission to go from the hotel to the tournament and vice versa. And security measures will be extreme, such as the use of masks at all times and under all circumstances. More details on the contingency plan will be known soon.
The Australian authorities do not want the situation, which they had exemplarily controlled, to get out of hand after this new case and that of another worker in a quarantine hotel, the Holiday Inn. Public gatherings are prohibited and people cannot move more than 5 km from their home. There are only four reasons to get out: shopping for essentials, caring for someone, essential work, or exercise.
The public attendance to the Oceanic Grand Slam had been increasing since Tuesday, after 17,922 had attended the facilities on Monday. On the second day there were 17,381, on Wednesday 19,900, Thursday 21,010 and Friday 22,299. Therefore, the ceiling of 30,000 daily (25,000 from rooms) has not yet been reached. The scenes of fans celebrating points in the stands without a mask or social distance drew attention around the world, with the high point of the meeting that faced a local idol at night Nick Kyrgios and Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
The stars were enchanted
The great tennis stars welcomed the return of the spectators to the matches with happiness. Serena Williams, one of the most connected with the fans, is clear: “It's good to have people, lots of people out there. Yes, I think the crowd always motivates me, be it good or bad. There is always something that can motivate you among the people. “After hearing the news of the new confinement, the American said that” social distance is necessary in this situation due to COVID, and this is the sport in which it is best maintained. ” Garbiñe Muguruza likes to feel the warmth of the fans: “I love stepping on the court and having an audience. It is appreciated that they come to see us play after almost a full year without spectators. Without them we lack energy, nerves, emotion … “. Now they will return to the situation they lived in the US Open until next Thursday, if everything goes well and the Spanish regrets it:” It will be hard, but it is the “The situation we are in. The Victorian Government takes all this very seriously. The positive is that we will be able to play although we will miss the public, but we hope to have them back in a few days.”