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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2020, file photo, Serbia's Novak Djokovic holds his trophy after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's singles final of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley wants international tennis players arriving for the first Grand Slam tournament of 2021 to be exempt from the 14-day strict hotel quarantines that are mandatory now for inbound travelers.

Tiley on Thursday said he remains "absolutely" confident the Australian Open will go ahead as planned at Melbourne Park from Jan. 18-31, along with lead-up events including the men's ATP Cup and tournaments in Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart.

He said he is counting on Australia's state and federal governments to relax border restrictions and grant special approval for players to go into a bio-secure training bubble, similar to what the U.S. Open and French Open did recently, to prepare for the tournament but remain isolated from the public.

"If a player has to ... be stuck in a hotel for two weeks just before their season, that won't happen," Tiley told the Australian Associated Press.

"You can't ask players to quarantine for two weeks and then step out and be ready to play a Grand Slam."

Roger Federer and Serena Williams, both of whom will turn 40 in 2021, have already committed to playing in Australia but Tiley said players simply won't show up if they're not allowed to prepare properly.

"We completely accept that everyone coming from overseas has got to have two weeks in quarantine," Tiley said, but "what we are negotiating, or what we're trying to have an agreement on, is that we set up a quarantine environment where they can train and go between the hotel and the courts in those two weeks."

At the U.S. Open and French Open, players weren't required to quarantine but instead had to operate in a bio-secure bubble and undergo regular covid-19 tests before being allowed to compete. Players wore masks between matches at Roland Garros, where Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in the men's final last weekend.

Tiley said preparations for the Australian Open are "getting to crunch time now."

"We need commitments from the governments and the health officers," he said. "We need to kind of know in the next two weeks, maybe a month, that this is what can happen: borders are going to open and then we can have a multi-city event.

"If we cannot have a multi-city event, we've got to reconsider everything."

Melbourne has been one of Australia's hardest-hit cities during the covid-19 pandemic. A second wave of the coronavirus forced a overnight curfews and a six-week lockdown for its 5 million residents. Still, organizers are planning to have spectators at the Australian Open -- up to 50% of capacity -- with social distancing regulations in place.

If state borders aren't re-opened, Tiley didn't rule out the ATP Cup and potentially other tournaments being held in Melbourne, just as the Cincinnati hard-court tournament was staged at Flushing Meadows before the U.S. Open.

"Anything is possible right now," Tiley said. "Everything is still on the table."

Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley is shown in this photo.
Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley is shown in this photo.
FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2020, file photo, Rajeev Ram, right, of the U.S. and partner Britain's Joe Salisbury hold their trophy after defeating Australia's Max Purcell and Luke Saville in the men's doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2020, file photo, Rajeev Ram, right, of the U.S. and partner Britain's Joe Salisbury hold their trophy after defeating Australia's Max Purcell and Luke Saville in the men's doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2020, file photo, Sofia Kenin, of the United States, kisses her trophy after defeating Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2020, file photo, Sofia Kenin, of the United States, kisses her trophy after defeating Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley says he wants international tennis players arriving for January's first Grand Slam of 2021 to be exempt from a current 14-day hotel quarantines. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)
In this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 image provided by the French Tennis Federation FFT, Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy in the locker room after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France. (FFT/Julien Crosnier via AP)
In this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 image provided by the French Tennis Federation FFT, Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy in the locker room after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France. (FFT/Julien Crosnier via AP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses his wife, left, and family members as he celebrates winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic in three sets, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses his wife, left, and family members as he celebrates winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic in three sets, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Poland's Iga Swiatek, right, holds the trophy after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Sofia Kenin of the U.S., left, in two sets 6-4, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Poland's Iga Swiatek, right, holds the trophy after winning the final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Sofia Kenin of the U.S., left, in two sets 6-4, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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