Australian Open to be allowed 30,000 fans a day

Attendence at Melbourne Park and will be reduced to 25,000 over the last five days of the tournament when there are fewer matches

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The Australian Open will be allowed to admit up to 30,000 fans a day when the February 8-21 Grand Slam gets underway, Victoria state sports minister Martin Pakula has said.

That is around half of the usual attendence at Melbourne Park and will be reduced to 25,000 over the last five days of the tournament when there are fewer matches.

Pakula said the announcement would ensure some of the biggest crowds for a sporting event since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It'll mean that over the 14 days, we will have up to 390,000 people here at Melbourne Park and that's about 50 per cent of the average over the last three years," he told reporters.

"That means on Rod Laver Arena, as we get to the end of the tournament, we'll have an incredible atmosphere, not that different to the atmosphere we've seen in all the Opens in years past,"

"It will not be the same as the last few years but it will be the most significant international event with crowds that the world has seen in many, many months."

Pakula said the announcement was a testament to the job the people of Victoria had done to contain the new coronavirus. It has been 24 days since the state reported a locally acquired infection.

Eight positive cases were detected from the more than 1,000 players, coaches and officials who flew in on 17 charter flights ahead of the year's first Grand Slam.

Most were allowed out of their rooms for up to five hours a day for training and gym work, but 72 players remained in strict lockdown after fellow passengers on their flights to Australia tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19.

Despite gripes from some at the start of quarantine, tournament chief Craig Tiley said he was "particularly proud" of the "playing group", most of whom will be out of quarantine by the end of Saturday.

"We've got the best players in the world and they, over the last 24 hours, have been getting out of quarantine," he said.

"I've seen a few of them this morning and contrary to what some players said 10 days ago, the majority of them - 99.9 per cent - are absolutely happy to be out and very appreciative of our efforts to protect them."

Local health authorities said on Saturday they were still managing five active COVID-19 cases connected to the tennis, one of them a player.

Spain's Paula Badosa, the world number 67, was the only player to announce she had tested positive in Melbourne. She has another few days of quarantine to complete.