Australian Open: Will players need to be vaccinated? What are quarantine rules?

The 2022 Australian Open is just over three months away and already attention has turned to the Covid-19 regulations that are going to be in place at the tournament.

Earlier this year in Melbourne players were placed in strict hotel quarantine due to the pandemic, with limited training time and some not allowed out until close to the start of the Grand Slam. The rules may be loosened a little in January, but players are likely to be in bio-secure bubbles, may need to travel to Australia over Christmas, and there are reports that it could be mandatory to be vaccinated to compete.

Ahead of the opening Grand Slam of 2022 we look at what’s in store and what it could mean for the likes of Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and more…

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What’s the situation in Melbourne?

This week Melbourne passed 246 days in lockdown and overtook Buenos Aires as the city that has spent the most cumulative time in lockdown. But restrictions will reportedly be lifted once the vaccination rate in the state of Victoria gets to 70 per cent, which is expected to be later this month. There were protests in September over the lockdown.

When will players have to travel to Australia?

There won’t be much celebrating over Christmas for most players who are planning to compete at the Australian Open.

Like this year, qualifying is set to take place in the Middle East, with the women’s event in Dubai and the men’s qualifying in Abu Dhabi. The final round of qualifying is scheduled to take place around Christmas Eve.

For those who don’t have to qualify there will still be travel over the Christmas period due to the quarantine regulations on arrival. The Australian Open starts on January 17 and there will likely be warm-up tournaments in the fortnight leading up to it.

Current Australian rules state that all international travellers entering the country need to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu has said that she has no problems with travel over the festive period. “Whatever needs to be done to be able to play the Australian Open, I’ll do. To me it’s not even a thought or like a battle in my mind. I just want to be at the Australian Open, and I want to compete there, so, whatever it takes to do, I’ll go.”

What rules will be in place?

It is expected that rather than being placed in hotel quarantine as they were this year, players will be in bio-secure bubbles, which will allow them slightly more freedom. The regulations at the 2021 Australian Open frustrated some players as they were unable to train as much as they wanted and had to spend most of their time in their hotel room. There were concerns that two weeks of inactivity followed by matches could cause injuries, and Djokovic wrote to Australian Open officials to see if the rules could be eased – a move that wasn’t successful and saw Nick Kyrgios brand him a “tool”.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said in August that the planned bubble for 2022 would allow players “to move freely between the hotel and courts”.

They’re protected, they’re kept safe among themselves and safe from the community as well. And after those two weeks they’ll come out and be able to compete in the Australian Open in front of crowds.

It is not yet clear how many fans will be able to attend each day at Melbourne Park, with attendances at the 2021 Australian Open capped. There were also several days without any fans as Victoria went into a five-day lockdown.

Will players need to be vaccinated to play?

It has been reported in Australia that players will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to compete at the Australian Open and there will be no exceptions made.

Daniel Andrews, the head government official in the state of Victoria, said recently: “The only title that will protect you is you being able to have had your first dose and second dose. If you are coming to visit, the notion of you getting in here without being vaccinated, I think, is very, very low.”

The decision could have an impact on Djokovic’s chances of winning a 21st Grand Slam in Melbourne.

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The Australian Open has been his most successful major but he has been sceptical about the vaccine in the past and has said he doesn’t think it should be a requirement to play on the tour. He has not revealed if he has had a first vaccine dose yet.

Djokovic is not the only one whose plans could be impacted.

At the US Open this summer an ATP spokesman said that just above 50 per cent of male players were vaccinated, even though the men’s tour “continues to strongly recommend vaccination to players.” A WTA spokeswoman said nearly half of female players were vaccinated and they hoped to get that number above 85 per cent by the end of the year.

World No 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas said in August that he didn’t plan on getting the vaccine until it was mandatory to play on tour – but then made a U-turn on that decision after getting criticism from the Greek government. Women’s world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka said she didn’t “trust” the vaccine earlier this year, but has been ruled out of Indian Wells after testing positive. Andrey Rublev and Elina Svitolina also said they were unsure about getting the vaccine earlier this year.

The Age newspaper in Melbourne has reported that Tiley has “become resigned” to the fact that players will need to be vaccinated after conversations with government officials.

However, Ashleigh Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer has said quarantine regulations could put players off.

“I know that players won’t come out if they have to quarantine,” he said this week. “There’s already quite a few who we’ve spoken to who have said if it’s like last year, they’re not coming.”

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Nick Kyrgios Ends 2021 Season

Nick Kyrgios announced on Instagram Stories Monday evening that he has been suffering from a left knee complaint and is flying home to Australia to receive treatment in the hopes of being 100 per cent for the Australian Open.

“Over the past couple months I haven’t been 100 per cent healthy. I’ve been dealing with left knee patella tendinopathy and continuing to play without treating it can lead to further pain and greater setbacks,” Kyrgios wrote. “I’ve chosen to fly back to Australia to reassess and am planning to get PRP treatment to settle down and rehab my knee.

“I’m disappointed it has kept me from playing my best tennis and hopefully with everything going smoothly I’ll be back to 100 per cent by the Australian Open. All love.” 

Kyrgios played this weekend at the Laver Cup for Team World, where he lost a singles match against Stefanos Tsitsipas and fell in doubles alongside John Isner.

The 26-year-old finishes his season with a 7-8 record. He did not compete between the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

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'Disappointed' Kyrgios targets Australian Open return after he has knee treatment

Nick Kyrgios is to undergo treatment for an ongoing knee problem which has been bothering him for the last two months.

In August, the Australian pulled out of his first round match against Andy Murray at the Winston-Salem Open due to knee pain before participating in the US Open, where he was knocked out in the first round by Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets.

Kyrgios played for Team World in their heavy 14-1 defeat to Team Europe at the Laver Cup last weekend. He hinted that he may retire from the sport soon and confirmed he would not play competitively for the remainder of the 2021 season.

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The 26-year-old says he has flown back to Australia to have treatment before looking to come back for the Australian Open in Melbourne next January.

“Hey guys, over the last couple months, I haven’t been near 100 per cent healthy,” Kyrgios wrote on an Instagram story.

I’ve been dealing with left knee patella tendinopathy, and continuing to play without fully treating it can lead to further pain and greater setbacks.

Watch the moment Boston Celtics superfan Kyrgios walks out at TD Garden

“I’ve chosen to fly back to Australia to reassess and am planning to get PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) treatment to settle down and rehab my knee.

“I’m disappointed it has kept me from playing my best tennis and hopefully with everything going smoothly I will be back to 100 per cent by the Australian Open.”

Kyrgios, who is currently ranked 96th in the world, has played just 15 times on the ATP Tour this year and has a win-loss record of 7-8.

‘Not the best advert’ – Tsitsipas’ shoe ‘shreds’ as Kyrgios laughs at delay

– – –

You will be able to watch the Australian Open 2022 live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and via the Eurosport app. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.

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Highlights: Tsitsipas wins pulsating encounter against Kyrgios

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Kyrgios hints at retirement after being beaten twice at Laver Cup as Team Europe sweep Day Two

Nick Kyrgios has hinted at an early retirement from tennis after being beaten twice as Team Europe swept the second day of competition at the 2021 Laver Cup.

The outspoken Australian was beaten in straight sets by Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-3, 6-4) before falling to doubles defeat as Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev combined to triumph over Kyrgios and partner John Isner in a pulsating encounter.

That completed a full day of victories in Boston for Bjorn Borg’s Team Europe as they took a commanding 11-1 lead.

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Kyrgios said after his defeat to the Greek world number three that he is unsure what the future holds, revealing that his mum is suffering with health issues and suggesting that he will retire inside three years.

“This is probably my last Laver Cup,” the Australian said.

“I don’t know how much longer I will be in tennis. This is my last event of the year – I will get my body right ahead of the Australian Open.

“My mum is not doing too well with her health. I’d like to go back and see her.

“As long as I’m on the court, I will try and give my best, but I’m not going to lie and say that I’m going to plan to play four or five more years on tour.”

The 26-year-old has hinted at a disillusionment with life on tour in the past, with Kyrgios previously claiming that he “doesn’t like” tennis.

The talented, but divisive, Kyrgios has also mentioned 28 as a potential retirement age in the past.

A disastrous Day Two for John McEnroe’s Team World left Europe just two points short of victory at TD Garden.

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Along with Tsitsipas’ dual triumphs, there were wins for Alexander Zverev (over Isner) and Daniil Medvedev, who produced a commanding second set to sweep aside Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-0.

US Open champion Medvedev said: “I played unbelievably, especially the second set.

“I didn’t know what to expect because after the US Open, I didn’t play for a week and half. I came here, practised as much as I Could the past three days, but was surprisingly feeling well.”

Highlights: Medvedev makes light work of Shapovalov

Team World must win every match on Day Three.

The schedule opens with Rublev and Zverev paired to take on the contrasting World partnership of Reilly Opelka and Shapovalov.

Zverev will then be in singles action against Felix Auger-Aliassime before Medvedev and Tsitsipas complete the event with singles encounters with Diego Schwartzmann and John Isner, respectively.

“It’s not over yet,” Europe captain Borg suggested, though noting his team’s dominance so far.

– – –

You can watch the Laver Cup live on Eurosport 1, eurosport.co.uk and via the Eurosport app. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now to get yourself all set for the action from Boston.

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Highlights: Tsitsipas wins pulsating encounter against Kyrgios

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'Not the best advert' – Tsitsipas' shoe shreds as Kyrgios laughs at delay

There was a lengthy delay during Stefanos Tsitsipas’ match against Nick Kyrgios at the Laver Cup after the Greek’s shoe shredded and he had to replace it.

The incident occurred in the fourth game of the second set after the 23-year-old won the opening set in convincing fashion, 6-3, and an extended interruption ensued at TD Garden in Boston.

Tsitsipas found that his shoe had been wrecked as a result of the constant pounding from the groundstrokes on the indoor surface and he suddenly had to change it midway through the service game at 15-15.

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Kyrgios laughed and shook his head at the delay – no doubt in reference to the now infamous bathroom break debate from the US Open when the Greek upset Andy Murray over taking very long trips to the facilities at Flushing Meadows.

Eventually, Tsitsipas managed to sort the issue by simply replacing his shoes – but not before he had to spend several minutes putting new laces on his replacement footwear.

Eurosport commentator Chris Bradnam said: “It’s not the best advert for the shoe – look at it! It’s absolutely battle weary after the amount they slip and slide around.

“I wonder if Kyrgios is tempted to say something like, ‘Is this going to take about eight minutes? What’s going on here?!'”

Kyrgios used the delay to convene with his team-mates and Team World captain, John McEnroe, before play eventually resumed in the second set, and Tsitsipas went on to close out a straight-sets win.

While having shoes suddenly collapse was clearly not Tsitsipas’ fault, Team World clearly enjoyed taking the opportunity to joke about it in their huddle after the debates from New York.

Watch the moment Boston Celtics superfan Kyrgios walks out at TD Garden

The Greek’s stoppages riled Murray after they met at the US Open, and when speaking to the assembled media after the 2-6 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 epic, he detailed the reasons for his dissatisfaction.

“It’s not so much leaving the court, it’s the amount of time,” Murray said. “I spoke to my team before the match about it and said to expect that, prepare for it if things were not going his way. So I was trying to do that.

“But the issue is that you cannot stop the way that that affects you physically. When you’re playing a brutal match like that, you know, stopping for seven, eight minutes, you do cool down.

“I don’t believe it was causing him any issue at all. The match went on for another two- and a-bit hours after that or something. He was fine, moving great I thought.

“Every single time it was before my serve, as well. Also in the fourth set when I had 0-30, he chose to go and I think he changed his racket. It can’t be coincidence that it’s happening at those moments.”

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– – –

You can watch the Laver Cup live on Eurosport 1, eurosport.co.uk and via the Eurosport app. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now to get yourself all set for the action from Boston.

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World-clash events coming your way

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We know who’s to blame for it. It’s Watson. He’s the one being sued. He’s the one under investigation. To shirk that aside is just about the most football thing ever, and to bemoan his payroll status. Football gonna football.

Kyrgios: 'This Is Our Best Shot'

Nick Kyrgios has made it no secret how important the Laver Cup is to him. The Australian loves the team atmosphere and playing for more than himself.

The 26-year-old has competed in the first three editions of the event, playing Roger Federer on each occasion. But will Kyrgios be able to lead Team World to its first win against Team Europe?

“I think this is our time. I think with the Big Three from Europe obviously sitting with injury, all that, I think this is our best shot,” Kyrgios said. “I think we’re the more well-known team. I think the crowd will be right behind us, and I think from the get-go the energy will be right there.”

Kyrgios always brings the energy whether he is on court or cheering from the bench. The six-time ATP Tour titlist wears his heart on his sleeve, especially at this event.

“I don’t usually cry much when I lose matches, and I went through a couple tough, tough losses here against Roger in Prague, and Jack [Sock] had to kind of come up to me and comfort me in that moment,” Kyrgios said. “It definitely brings out an array of emotions that you don’t feel, I don’t feel when I’m playing any other event.”

Team World
Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup
Team World Captain John McEnroe is excited for his team to have another shot at Team Europe. Does the former World No. 1 think it will be fourth time lucky for his group?

“I sure hope so. It’s been so close every year. We could taste it. I know that all of us are hungry and eager,” McEnroe said. “We’ve got a good mix. We’ve got people that can take the racquet out of their hands, and that’s the plan. Also, we’ve got some people that haven’t been here before, and I think that combination gives us good energy.”

McEnroe was referencing the power and shotmaking abilities of his players. Two examples of that come in the form of big-serving Americans John Isner and Reilly Opelka, who identify themselves as “servebots”.

“There [are] not many secrets to our games. It definitely starts with our serve, trying to create scoreboard pressure, which is a very real thing, especially against players of Europe’s calibre,” Isner said. “I think our plan is to try to keep these matches close, make them about a few points here and there, and hopefully we can try to win those points.

“We’re servebots, that’s what we do. As I said, try to hold serve as much as possible. We probably don’t want to be rallying with these guys too much. They are all Top 10 in the world for a reason. But as Captain McEnroe said, we have a lot of power and weapons on our side, and we just have to utilise those and hope that it’s good enough.”

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Kyrgios is a big fan of the Boston Celtics, the legendary NBA team that plays at TD Garden, the venue for this year’s Laver Cup. Although the Australian greatly enjoys competing in such an environment, he is focussed on the job at hand.

“I’m confident in everyone on this table. I’m sitting with some of the best players in the world, and they know what to do. They have won many, many matches,” Kyrgios said. “Just go out there and enjoy it. You don’t know how long you’re going to be at this level and how many times you’re going to play Laver Cup. I’m just going to embrace it again and these guys will enjoy it.”

Laver Cup: Best moments so far – featuring Federer, Nadal and Kyrgios

It’s the fourth edition of the Laver Cup this week as Team World face Team Europe in Boston.

The competition has served up plenty of memorable moments since it started in 2017, from epic matches to fascinating interactions between players and wild celebrations.

We look back on some of the highlights of the Laver Cup so far, featuring Nick Kyrgios, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s bromance, Federer and Novak Djokovic playing doubles together, and some very inventive moves…

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Thrilling finishes

The overall scoreboard might read 3-0 in Team Europe’s favour, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of the Laver Cup. In 2017 and in 2019 the three-day competition went to the wire.

The inaugural edition of the tournament in Prague saw Team World fight back on day three and give themselves a shot heading into the final match. A win for Kyrgios against Federer would set up a one-set, winner-takes-all doubles decider.

It looked like the Australian would do it, but Federer came from a set down and saved a match point to clinch a 4-6 7-6(6) 11-9 win that secured the first-ever Laver Cup and left Kyrgios in tears.

Nick Kyrgios at the 2017 Laver Cup

Image credit: Getty Images

Two years later in Geneva the trophy was up for grabs again going into the last match of the day after Team Europe battled back from 11-7 down. This time it was Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev sent out for the decider and the German got the win in three sets to the delight of a fervent crowd.

“I’ve never played in something like that, it was unbelievable,” said Zverev afterwards. “It’s very special, especially playing in front of those guys and them trusting me to play the last singles game. This event is something I hope to play in every single year of my career.”

The final-day drama has helped make the Laver Cup such a great spectacle so far.

Federer-Nadal bromance

As two of the greatest players of all time, it’s no surprise that Federer and Nadal have been the stars of the Laver Cup so far. But not just for their performances on the court.

It has been incredible to see close up how they interact with each other and hear them coaching their team-mates – and each other.

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Team Europe coach Bjorn Bjorg was a bystander at times as Federer and Nadal gave advice and explained how they were seeing matches. Nadal even looked into the in-match stats to try and help Federer get the better of Kyrgios in 2019.

“I really enjoy the clarity in his advice,” said Federer. “What I really enjoy with Rafa is just that we very often align, our ideas align. And obviously when it comes to rally points, he’s excellent. You know, he knows how much is enough and how much is too much. He’s a great problem and solution-finder.”

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They won’t be in Boston this year, but let’s hope we get another chance to see Federer and Nadal together at the Laver Cup.

Federer v Kyrgios drama

The beauty of the Laver Cup is that it throws up so many good match-ups; none better so far than Federer v Kyrgios.

Their deciding clash in 2017 was an epic way to finish the tournament, and their meeting in 2019 wasn’t far behind in terms of quality and drama.

Federer battled past Kyrgios 6-7(5) 7-5 10-7 in an electric rematch that saw the Australian try to pull off the SABR and Team World captain John McEnroe tell Kyrgios “you’re in his head!”.

Kyrgios says he thinks the 2017 match between the pair “set the tone” for the Laver Cup.

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“That was a match that to this day people talk about to me and it was a monumental match. I feel like that really set the tone for any Laver Cup that goes ahead with or without me or with or without Roger, for many years to come.”

The 2019 match between Federer and Kyrgios was also memorable for the Australian getting distracted by a female fan.

Leading Federer 7-6 2-1, Kyrgios told his team-mates as he returned to the bench: “I lost concentration, I saw a really hot chick in the crowd. Like, I’m being jarringly honest – I’d marry her right now. Right now.”

Not sure we need more distracted Kyrgios in the future, but we would certainly sign off for some more Federer v Kyrgios matches.

Federer and Djokovic play doubles

While the friendship between Federer and Nadal is obvious, it is not always quite so clear how close Djokovic is with his two long-time rivals. Which is why it was entertaining to see him team up with Federer in the doubles in 2018.

The pair looked comfortable playing together for the first time, except for when Djokovic hit his partner in the lower back with a forehand. Djokovic’s face afterwards was a picture as he threw his hands in the air and covered his mouth in shock. But there were smiles from both players and also a quick apology from Djokovic.

“I apologised right away,” said the Serbian. “I got my karma back when [Jack] Sock hit me right in the heart!”

Novak Djokovic et Roger Federer lors de la Laver Cup

Image credit: Getty Images

Even though they lost to Jack Sock and Kevin Anderson, both Federer and Djokovic seemed to enjoy the experience.

“It was great to play with Roger, it was great fun,” said Djokovic. “We talked a lot of strategies on the bench and what was useful for our players. We have always had plenty of respect for each other, now that will be strengthened. But this kind of quality time is like no other.”

Federer added: “To team with someone of Nole’s calibre was a treat. You learn a lot from these matches.”

Team World bench celebrations

Team World may not have won the Laver Cup so far, but they have won the battle for best celebrations.

There was Thanasi Kokkinakis shooting Denis Shapovalov with an imaginary arrow, the whole team –including veterans John Isner and Sam Querrey – doing push-ups, team volleyball spikes, pretending the floor is lava, and starting their own Mexican wave.

Team Europe have been a bit more reserved in their support, but maybe this year things will change.

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