What Victoria lockdown means for tennis
COVID hasn't released its grip on the Australian Open and tennis fans are panicking about the possibility of being locked out amid suggestions Melbourne is planning its third lockdown.
A cluster of cases linked to Victoria's hotel quarantine system has state government advisers drawing up the framework for a lockdown which could begin as early as Friday night.
It would likely include banning supporters from attending the Australian Open. In an ominous sign the AFL women's competition has put ticket sales on hold for its matches this weekend.
Nick Kyrgios has benefited greatly from the support of the local crowd in his two matches at the tournament and was able to request tonight's blockbuster against world number three Dominic Thiem be played on his favoured John Cain Arena where the fans adore him.
With tennis officials adopting a business as usual approach this morning until they hear any updates from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Kyrgios would be hopeful his rabid base is on hand to cheer him over the line against Thiem.
But welcoming thousands to the tennis one night and then none the next would be hard sell, so the possibility of Kyrgios-Thiem going down in front of empty stands can't be ruled out at this point.
😳— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) February 12, 2021
Talk of "short sharp lockdown from midnight tonight, until Wednesday."
Would end crowds at the #AusOpen... You'd have to think even for tonight. You can't have 5,000 gather tonight, then zero tomorrow. Optics would be awful. https://t.co/mhhfky6Ls6
And a stale atmosphere would be on the cards for any future matches the Aussie star plays, greatly impacting his chances of progressing further in the tournament.
Andrews is expected to make an announcement on Friday.
The first week of the Australian Open had been largely void of COVID scares after it had dominated the lead-up.
Seventy-two players were forced into a hard 14-day lockdown after arriving in Melbourne when separate people on three charter flights which brought players in from across the globe returned positives.
There was another major scare days out from the tournament when a staff member at a hotel used to house players tested positive and 600 players and officials were told to isolate and get tested.
Order was restored when all tests came back negative but it remains to be seen whether this latest scare will give Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley a new headache to deal with.
Originally published as What Victoria lockdown means for tennis