Richmond Times-Dispatch

Australian Open likely to be delayed, official says


The sports minister for Victoria state said the 2021 Australian Open in Melbourne will “most likely” be delayed by a week or two from its scheduled start of Jan. 18.

Martin Pakula also said negotiatio­ns between various levels of government­s and tennis officials were close to a conclusion and that the first Grand Slam tournament of the year was expected to go ahead.

“There’s a number of potential dates on the table. I’ve seen reports that suggest that it’s likely to be delayed by a week or two. I think that’s still most likely,” Pakula said Wednesday. “But it’s not the only option. As you know, the French Open was delayed by many months and Wimbledon didn’t occur at all.”

Craig Tiley, Australian Open tournament director and Tennis Australia chief executive, last weekend said the final dates should be confirmed within two weeks. The Australian Open is usually held in the last two weeks of January, which coincides with summer school holidays in Australia.

Victoria was hit by a second wave of COVID-19, but it no longer has any active cases and its last deaths from the virus were on Oct. 28.

♦ Tennis great Boris Becker said Wednesday he is stepping down from a position overseeing youth developmen­t and the Davis Cup team at the German Tennis Federation. The six-time major winner said he no longer had enough time to do the job that he started in 2017. Becker has been charged in London over accusation­s he hid assets including two Wimbledon trophies, real estate and bank accounts during bankruptcy proceeding­s. He could face several years in prison if convicted. The federation said that Davis Cup captain Michael Kohlmann will take on Becker’s responsibi­lities.

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