When does the Australian Open 2022 start? Dates and Covid-19 protocols for Tennis tournament

The Australian Open looks set to host 2021 Champions, Djokovic and Osaka on Monday 17 January 2022 in Melbourne.

In just under two weeks time the first Grand Slam of the 2022 WTA and ATP season gets underway in Melbourne Park for the Australian Open.

Tennis stars such as World number ones Ashleigh Barty and Novak Djokovic will look to start their 2022 off with a bang as they compete against the likes of former British and World Number one Andy Murray and fellow Brits Emma Raducanu and Cameron Norrie.

Despite having played nine fewer tournaments than the second highest ranker (Daniil Medvedev), Novak Djokovic had a convincing 2021 season culminating in him once more taking the top spot.

Djokovic will be looking to start his 2022 off in much the same way he was able to start off 2021 as he comes back to Melbourne as the reigning champion.

The Women’s reigning champion, Naomi Osaka, also looks set to return to the court following a four month absence from Tennis. Osaka, who last played in the third round at the US Open, took an indefinite hiatus from the sport in order to focus on her mental health.

Speaking in a press conference at the Melbourne 1 pre-Australian Open tournament, Osaka said “I only really have one major goal this year, and it’s completely unrelated to results. I just want to feel like every time I step on the court I’m having fun. Also, I have a goal in the pressroom that I’m never going to cry again.”

Australia has had strict COVID-19 protocols and guidelines since the beginning of the pandemic, but with the rapid rise and spread of the Omicron variant, it has made the importance of these protocols even more vital.

Australia have stipulated that their participants must be fully vaccinated in order to participate in the event, or else they may receive a medical exemption.

Here is all the information on when the tournament is taking place and the COVID-19 rules that apply.

When is the tournament taking place?

The Australian Open begins on Monday 17 January 2022 and the finals will be held on Sunday 30 January 2022.

Where is the tournament taking place?

The tournament will be held at the Melbourne Park. The Sports venue has been home to the Grand Slam since 1988.

It is a tournament played outside and on hard courts. The tournament is also known as the ‘happy slam’ as it is the highest attended Grand Slam event with more than 812,000 people attending the tournament in 2020.

How can I watch the tournament?

The Australian Open is available to watch on Eurosport. Find out more from our How to Watch article.

What are the COVID-19 protocols?

The Australian Open website has stated:

“In line with the latest Government guidelines, all patrons aged 12 years 2 months or older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a valid medical exemption.

“On arrival, patrons will be asked to check in using the Service Victoria app and show AO staff their COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate.”

According to the ATP website, unvaccinated players are likely to find life on the ATP Tour and the ATP Challenger Tour much more difficult:

  1. Unvaccinated players will be subject to more testing than their vaccinated counterparts
  2. Unvaccinated players may have to contribute to the cost of the additional testing.
  3. Vaccinated players will continue to be exempt from being called a close contact when someone close to them tests positive
  4. Unvaccinated players who test positive for COVId-19 before an event, or who are deemed a close contact of someone who tests positive - and have to withdraw- will not receive ‘prize money compensation’. 
  5. The cost for isolation after a positive COVID-19 test will not be paid by the ATP 
  6. Transport for unvaccinated players may be increasingly restricted. 

What is the Vaccine status of the tennis players competing?

Novak Djokovic has recently been given a medical exemption in order to compete at the tournament.

He has consistently said that his vaccination status is a ‘private matter’ but since his exemption the Tennis Australia boss, Craig Tiley, has said in a video he believes Djokovic should reveal why he has received the exemption as legally Tennis Australia is not allowed to.

According to reports from the ATP Tennis Majors website, 65% of ATP players are vaccinated.

Daniil Medvedev has also declined to reveal his vaccination status, while the world number four, Stefanos Tsitsipas only reluctantly received his vaccination in October.

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