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Fans to return at Australian Open 2021 after 5-day lockdown in Melbourne

Australia’s second-largest city will relax its third lockdown at midnight Wednesday after authorities contained the spread of a COVID-19 cluster centered on hotel quarantine.

AP AP
Melbourne Published on: February 17, 2021 16:00 IST
Fans cheer for Australia's Nick Kyrgios, back to camera,
Image Source : AP

Fans cheer for Australia's Nick Kyrgios, back to camera, during his third round match against Austria's Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Feb. 12

Fans will be allowed back at the Australian Open after a five-day lockdown in Melbourne.

Australia’s second-largest city will relax its third lockdown at midnight Wednesday after authorities contained the spread of a COVID-19 cluster centered on hotel quarantine.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said the crowd will be capped at 7,477 — half the capacity of Rod Laver Arena — for each of the last four days of the tournament.

Crowds of up to 30,000 a day were allowed into Melbourne Park for the first five days of the tournament. Those were the first sizable crowds in 12 months at a major. The U.S. Open didn’t allow spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the French Open restricted numbers to fewer than 1,000. Wimbledon was canceled.

Tiley said, “We look forward to welcoming fans back ... for the next four days and to finishing the event safely and on a high.”

He described the atmosphere as “electric” in the first five days and “the players appreciated the opportunity to compete in front of crowds for the first time in almost a year, and many spoke about how emotional it was to connect with fans again."

Both women's semifinals and the first of the men's semifinals will be held Thursday. The women's singles final is scheduled for Saturday and the men's singles final on Sunday.

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