Australian Open to start on Feb.8, players can train during quarantine - reports.

MELBOURNE -- Next year's Australian Open could be pushed back to a Feb. 8-21 window and players would be allowed to train outside their hotel rooms during quarantine, Australian media reported.

Tennis Australia has been in talks with the Victoria state government over the coronavirus protocols to be established for those arriving ahead of the Grand Slam at Melbourne Park, which is currently scheduled for Jan. 18-31.

State officials have confirmed players will have to undergo quarantine and that the tournament will likely start one or two weeks later than scheduled.

Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, has not recorded a new case of COVID-19 in over a month after a nearly four month hard lockdown to combat a second wave of infections.

According to reports widely carried in the Australian media, Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley confirmed in an email to players that authorities had agreed to allow players to train during two weeks of strict quarantine.

It's taken a while, but the great news is it looks like we are going to be able to hold the AO on Feb. 8, the reports quoted Tiley as saying.

Players will have to quarantine for two weeks from 15 January, but the Victorian Government has agreed to special conditions for AO participants - agreeing that they need to be able to prepare for a grand slam.

There will be strict conditions, but after quarantine, players are free to stay where they want, go where they want, play lead-in...

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