The proliferation of live electronic line-calling tends to be worse for the spectacle of the sport, an element tennis definitely needs. Players can’t challenge a call from the machines at Melbourne Park, so there isn’t much sense in lodging a complaint during the first Grand Slam tournament played with zero line judges. Let’s hope that doesn’t hasten the disappearance of histrionics.
For the second year in a row, the traditional French Open schedule is being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic pulled out of the upcoming Miami Open on Friday, citing coronavirus restrictions as he joined Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the sideline.
Australian Open organizers weren’t deterred at all, vowing that the year’s first Grand Slam tournament would start as planned next Monday, with all the tuneup tournaments completed - somehow, tweaks are expected - between Friday and Sunday.
Things got more complicated later Wednesday, when the state government announced that a worker at one of the tournament’s three Melbourne quarantine hotels had tested positive for COVID-19. That meant any players, coaches or officials who quarantined at the Grand Hyatt would have to isolate until they returned a negative test for the virus.
The number of players in hard quarantine swelled to 72 ahead of the Australian Open after a fifth positive coronavirus test was returned from the charter flights bringing players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for the season-opening tennis major.