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Fans to return to the Australian Open 2021 after a 5-day blockade in Melbourne

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Image source: AP

Fans enjoy Australian Nick Kyrgios back to the camera during his third round match against Austrian Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, February 12

Fans will be returned to the Australian Open after a five-day block in Melbourne.

Australia’s second-largest city will release its third blockade at midnight on Wednesday after authorities restricted the spread of a COVID-19 cluster focused on hotel quarantine.

Tournament director Craig Tilly said the crowd would be limited to 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 in the first five days of the tournament in Melbourne Park. These were the first significant crowds in 12 months. The US Open does not allow spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the French Open limits the number to less than 1,000. Wimbledon was canceled.

Tiley said, “We look forward to welcoming fans back … over the next four days and finishing the event safely and at a high level.”

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

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

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