The Australian Open has “zero chance” of going ahead if the Victorian government insists on the hardest of quarantines for all incoming tennis players. That was the message from Australian No 2 John Millman, who gave an extended interview to the Tennis Podcast – a partner of Telegraph Sport – about his own 14-day internment in a Sydney hotel. Australian media offered an update overnight that suggested a fortnight’s delay for the tournament, moving back from its original start date of Jan 18 to Feb 1, though nothing has yet been officially confirmed. The real issue, though, is what the players will be able to do in the first two weeks after they arrive. Tennis Australia hope that Victorian premier Daniel Andrews will let them train at certain bio-seucre tennis centres. On this question, the whole enterprise rests. “[Tennis Australia chief executive] Craig Tiley and the team do an incredible job,” said Millman, who is the world No 38 and Australian No 2. “But this has been so challenging for them, the goalposts have been moved so many times by the local health authorities.
The French table tennis federation (FFTT) led the tributes on Wednesday to the former European and world champion Jacques Secrétin who has died at the age of 71. "Secrétin, a name that will not be forgotten and that French table tennis will not forget," said the FFTT. The French national Olympic committee (CNOSF) hailed Secrétin as a legend of table tennis and of French sport.He was born on 18 mars 1949 in Carvin in northern France and was still in his teens when he won his first national singles title in 1966. Another 16 domestic crowns would follow until 1986.During that sequence he claimed a European championship in 1976. A world title came the next year in the mixed doubles with Claude Bergeret.His renown increased when he and former table tennis champion Vincent Purkart set up Le show Secrétin-Purkart.TourTogether they toured the world highlighting the tricks of the table tennis trade until 2007."It was a period of life that was exceptional," Secrétin recalled. "I played in front of 15,000 spectators. It was a real promotion for table tennis."The yen to perform, play and promote table tennis never diminished. Secrétin was a constant visitor to table tennis clubs and prisons where he would be equally at ease instructing youngsters or inmates.Jean-Michel Blanquer, France's education, youth and sports minister, also paid tribute on Wednesday.He said Secrétin was an immense champion who worked tirelessly for the cause and prestige of table tennis in France.
Organisers are in talks with the Victoria state government over the protocols to be put in place for those arriving in Australia for the first Grand Slam of the year. State officials said on Wednesday the Melbourne Park tournament would go ahead, though it would likely take place a week or two after the scheduled date and that players would have to undergo quarantine. "I'm going to go to Australia when we can to avoid any circumstances that would change your mind about competing there," world number four Medvedev told CNN.