Sydney has offered to act as a temporary host for the Australian Open if Melbourne cannot hold the event due to COVID-19.

NSW deputy premier John Barilaro told Australian radio today he had written to Tennis Australia in Victoria offering help to stage the events.

“Some of these events down in Victoria are national events hosted in Victoria,” Barilaro told 2GB radio. “It’s important for the economy, important for the Australian psyche when it comes to sport.

“Absolutely we should be able to work with Victorians to find ways to make sure these all happen, these events are far too important in this crisis to not have.”

The State of Victoria is currently undergoing a second lockdown and has nearly 8,000 active COVID-19 cases.

But TA chief executive Craig Tiley thanked Sydney and NSW for the offer but stated Melbourne was still going to host the event in January.

“Our focus is to get through the next few weeks and our team is in full planning mode to deliver a great Australian Open in Melbourne,” Craig Tiley said.

“We obviously have great facilities in Melbourne and the AO is contracted and committed to Melbourne Park.”