ASB Classic organisers were willing to do almost anything to avoid yesterday’s cancellation announcement.
What's usually the first event of the year, 1 NEWS can reveal the ASB Classic proposed to move two weeks later and piggyback off the Australian Open to try keep the 2021 edition alive.
The plan featured a private jet transferring players, coaches and officials from their bubble in Melbourne to Auckland where they'd stay in the same bubble and quarantine for a further three days.
However, the Government ruled protocols put forward by organisers didn't meet the standards required.
“The organisers required the players to not complete 14 days managed isolation,” Megan Woods said.
“They wanted players playing in front of fans in three days and that's just not something we can currently do in New Zealand.”
But 1 NEWS understands the unsuccessful proposal had many more safety protocols in place including a bubble of 135 players, coaches and officials, no ball kids and limited linespeople and only matches at the Stanley Street site.
All other related activities - like meals and medical treatment – would’ve taken place back at the quarantine hotel and strict travel rules to and from the venue would've also applied.
Woods said it still wasn’t enough.
“Our bottom line is keeping New Zealanders safe,” Woods said.
“We don't allow anyone to enter New Zealand without completing 14 days of managed isolation.”