A delay to the start of the Australian Open could see a shortage of ball kids for the 2021 event in Melbourne.

The event looks like to be put back until February 1, after schools in the city return for a new year.

And with international borders closes Tennis Australia is now considering upping the age limit to allow those older teenagers who worked the 2020 event can again be used. Another option may be to have no ball kids at all.

A total of 360 ball kids, selected from 2500+ applicants, were involved in 2020.

This included 38 from overseas: 20 from Korea, six from China, 10 from India and two from France.

Children must be within the designated age range of between 11 and 17.

Tennis Australia said it was reviewing all its protocols to ensure a “safe environment for everyone”.