A well-stocked Rod Laver Arena: an image we won't see at the 2022 Australian Open.

A well-stocked Rod Laver Arena: an image we won’t see at the 2022 Australian Open. ©  AFP

Audience capacity at the Australian Open tennis tournament, which starts Monday, will be limited to 50 percent due to an increase in the number of corona infections and the number of hospitalizations in the Melbourne region.


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“The change of rules for the Ausralian Open means that the public, players and staff can expect an extremely safe event,” said Jaala Pulford, state minister, in a press release.

For the first grand slam tournament of the year, which starts Monday, spectators will be required to wear face masks except when eating or drinking, and distancing rules must be observed indoors.

Similar rules were introduced at the start last year. However, a five-day lockdown in Melbourne forced organizers to hold most matches behind closed doors. In the end, small groups of spectators were allowed into Melbourne Park.

A record 953 corona patients were hospitalized in Victoria on Thursday.

With the exception of a rare exemption, staff and players are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The vast majority are, but the number one in the world, Novak Djokovic, is not. That led to a worldwide incident last week.

The Serb’s participation in the Australian open remains questionable. (Belgian)

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