Headache for Australian Open Tennis 2021, ‘no insurance cover for pandemics’
The Australian Open has missed out on a pandemic insurance policy for the 2021 event because of a technicality in its pandemic protection paperwork. It was revealed this week that the Australian Open had joined Wimbledon in taking out pandemic insurance to safeguard the year’s first grand slam from freak pandemics like the spread of Covid-19.
However, the Tennis Australia tournament will not be eligible for any insurance payout next year because the policy will expire in 2020 — and Tennis Australia has not been given an option to renew the deal in the current climate.
Australian media has confirmed the development.
“Although we were able to have pandemic coverage as part of our policy over the past few years, the current situation with Covid-19 makes it prohibitive going forward, certainly in the short term,” a spokesperson said.
The technicality, which could cost The Australian Open hundreds of millions, has been labelled “brutal” by New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg.
“The Australian Open had the incredible foresight to pay for pandemic insurance,” Rothenberg wrote on Twitter.
“But it’s set to expire before next year’s tournament. Brutal.”
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said in May he was hopeful of the 2020-21 summer of tennis proceeding as planned, despite the growing threat of the coronavirus extending into next year.
“It will either be through crowds that are social distancing maybe only from Australia and New Zealand, or by then maybe some international crowds,” Tiley told Channel 7.
“It’s hard to know but we are preparing for all of that. We’re also preparing to scale back if we have to but the full plan is to have an Australian Open in January and to have our lead-in events.”
Even Wimbledon 2021 not getting insurance cover