The 2022 Australian Open will be capped at 50% capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The annual tennis tournament is set to take place at Melbourne Park from Monday, January 17th to Sunday, January 30th. It won’t have the same raucous atmosphere as previous years as the Victorian government has confirmed that ticket sales will cut in half in order to ensure the health and safety of those in attendance.

The new cap will only apply to sessions that haven’t already sold at that level, however, and tickets won’t be cancelled or canned for any sessions that have already bypassed the new capacity limit. Face masks will also remain a mandatory requirement for everyone in attendance except when eating or drinking.

Other safety measures this year include a ventilation assessment that will be undertaken for the venue. HEPA filters will then be installed in spaces that require it for better ventilation. Such measures will help in limiting the spread of COVID-19 as Victoria continues to battle a huge rise in both cases and hospitalisations numbers.

“These updates to arrangements for the Australian Open will mean that fans, players and the workforce can look forward to a terrific Covid-safe event in Australia’s event capital,” Jaala Pulford, the acting minister for tourism, sport and major events, said.

This has arguably been the most contentious Australian Open in recent memory. Novak Djokovic’s visa issues have completely dominated the buildup to the event.

The world’s best men’s player was included in the tournament draw while he still waits to find out if his visa will be cancelled for a second time. He’s been drawn to face his Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanović as he aims for a record-setting 21st grand slam title.

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Perhaps Djokovic will be the only person happy with the 50% crowd capacity – he’s sure to receive a fiery reception whenever he takes to the court this month.

Watch footage of Novak Djokovic’s supporters rallying outside the Park Hotel: