"I'm not complaining that it's boring or something like this, it's just that going out from the room after 14 days of not doing anything and then playing five sets right away, I think would be really risky for the health of any sportsman", he said.
A Tennis Australia spokesperson told Reuters that the organisers are still waiting for approvals from the Victoria state government for all details on the year's first Grand Slam, including those relating to practice during quarantine. "I think that's still most likely", Pakula said Wednesday.
"I'm still confident we'll have an Australian Open, and we'll have one in the early part of the year", Martin Pakula, Victoria's Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, told reporters in Melbourne. I've seen reports that suggest that it's likely to be delayed by a week or two.
This year's Wimbledon was cancelled and the US Open was played behind closed doors, while the French Open was delayed before allowing a limited number of spectators.More news: Trump says he'll leave if Electoral College seats Biden
"I still think it's much more likely that it will be a shorter [delay] rather than a longer one". "I don't want to unduly repeat myself but these are very complex negotiations", he added.
The sports minister wouldn't be drawn on discussing the players' and their entourages' quarantine arrangements amid speculation the process may be shortened to only 10 days, other than to reaffirm that they would definitely be required to quarantine.
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley had originally wanted players to start arriving in Australia from mid-December so they could undergo a 14-day quarantine before playing traditional warm-up events. There is now a strict two-week quarantine, but Tennis Australia has asked permission for training or competition during those two weeks.
"We've got obviously a huge amount of complexity in negotiating with both Tennis Australia but also with the ATP and the WTA", Pakula said.More news: Ukraine requests $100 million World Bank loan for COVID-19 vaccine
He also said that players will also go through a thorough testing regime when they arrive and also while they are in the biosecure bubble. "And then I imagine consistently through the time they're in their (biosecure) bubble".
Due to border restrictions between states and varied quarantine requirements by local governments across the country, Tennis Australia plans to shift all build-up tournaments leading to the Grand Slam to Victoria.
Speaking on Sunrise, on Wednesday, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews conceded the tournament will be pushed back, but hadn't settled on a date.More news: Maradona's Death to Be Investigated!