Tennis Australia (TA) dismissed on Saturday media reports claiming the start of the Australian Open is set to be pushed back.

The Herald Sun reported that the start of the Australian Open could was likely to be moved to February or March next year due to COVID-19 protocols in the country.

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"It's pure speculation," a TA spokesperson said.

The report comes after news that the state government has said it will prevent players arriving in Melbourne until the start of January. Tennis Australia had planned for players and their entourages to arrive in Victoria in mid-December to have time to undertake a mandatory two-week quarantine period before competing in Melbourne in January. If players now arrive in January before quarantining for two weeks, this would give players just three days to prepare for the tournament ahead of the planned Jan 18 start date.

"I am very confident we will have an Aussie Open in the early part of next year," the report quoted Victoria premier Daniel Andrews as saying on Saturday.

"The exact timing of it, the exact arrangements we put in place, they are not settled yet and as soon as they are settled, I will be more than happy to share it with you."

The Open's junior evens have already been postponed due to travel restrictions, but organisers plan to hold a replacement tournament some time in 2021.

Australian Open : Sofia Kenin poses with trophy in Melbourne

Image credit: Eurosport

"Australia has had relatively few cases of COVID-19...and this has been achieved through strict biosecurity measures which include limiting international travellers into Australia, and mandatory 14-day quarantine for all international arrivals," reads a letter written by tournament directors Craig Tiley and Francis Soyer.

"These limits along with the increased biosecurity requirements have unfortunately made it extremely difficult for us to run a junior event at the 2021 Australian Open.

Additional reporting via Reuters

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