TOKYO (NEWS 1130) – The first tennis Grand Slam event of 2021 will wrap up this weekend in Australia. Semi-finals in the men’s and women’s singles brackets get underway Thursday despite the fact the city of Melbourne has enforced a COVID-19-related lockdown and fans have been shuttled out of the stadiums.
But with the Olympics set for just over five months from now, it should come as no surprise officials in Tokyo are taking best practices from the Australian Open in the lead-up to the Summer Games.
The Australian Open is a smaller-scale event: just over 1,000 players and staff traveled down under compared to the more than 10,000 athletes set to descend on Tokyo this summer. The Summer Games will mark by far the largest gathering of athletes since the pandemic began last year.
But the protective principles against the spread of COVID-19 persist. Traveling athletes were quarantined in Australia, while Olympic athletes are being told to isolate before traveling to Japan.
Bloomberg reported this week Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley is sharing testing practices as well as protocols for confirmed cases with Japanese officials.
Olympic officials released a series of playbooks earlier this month. While athletes won’t have to be vaccinated in order to compete, the International Olympic Committee is working with national organizations, like the Canadian Olympic Committee, to encourage athletes to get the jab before they travel to Japan.
Updated guidelines for the Tokyo Games will be released by the IOC in April. The opening ceremonies are slated to take place on July 23.
The Summer Games were originally set to begin on July 24, 2020. It was announced in March of 2020 that the Olympics would be postponed until no later than the summer of 2021 due to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, which forced countries into lockdown.