Australian Open warm-up cancelled over Covid rules uncertainty

A major warm-up tournament for the Australian Open was cancelled yesterday, 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 defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic's participation - he has refused to divulge his vaccination status.

A leaked WTA e-mail this week suggested unvaccinated players could take part provided they completed 14 days in hotel quarantine, while inoculated players would enjoy "complete freedom of movement".

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