The schedule for pro tennis over the summer Down Under was confirmed on Thursday, when a record 17 tournaments to be held across three states, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, in January, was announced.
We have worked closely with both the women’s and men’s Tours and would like to particularly thank our government partners across the country, who have all been tireless in their efforts to bring the tennis back in 2022. I know it was sorely missed this year, and we are already planning to have a full program of events across the country in 2023. Craig Tiley, CEO Tennis Australia and AO Tournament Director
Continuing domestic border restrictions within Australia for the coronavirus pandemic, however, ended the prospects of staging top-level tournaments in the states of Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
The Aussie swing will start on 1 January with the $10 million ATP Cup, and will provide more competition opportunities for more players in preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, which runs from 17-30 January.
“It’s incredibly important to have the world’s best players competing across the country, inspiring the next generation of players and growing interest and excitement in our sport,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
“It’s also vital to provide competition opportunities for the playing group, and with an incredible 17 tournaments, we are pleased to announce we will have a record number of jobs for players here in Australia in January.
“We have worked closely with both the women’s and men’s Tours and would like to particularly thank our government partners across the country, who have all been tireless in their efforts to bring the tennis back in 2022.
“I know it was sorely missed this year, and we are already planning to have a full program of events across the country in 2023.
“It’s also fantastic to bring tennis back to regional Victoria, where I know the local communities of Bendigo and Traralgon will welcome these global events with open arms.
“It is not news to anyone that the pandemic, closed borders and varying rates of vaccination created a massive challenge for us and led to the changes specifically for the summer.
“It’s why we waited as long as possible to secure optimal conditions for the players and fans in as many locations as we could,” Tiley added.
The year will start with two weeks of tennis in Sydney, with the ATP Cup followed by the new, one-off Sydney Tennis Classic, a combined men’s and women’s event featuring a WTA 500 and ATP 250.
Memorial Drive Tennis Centre in Adelaide will host two weeks of combined men’s and women’s Adelaide International competition, with the first week a WTA 500 and ATP 250, followed by a WTA 250 and ATP 250.
From the 3-9 January Melbourne Park will host three events – two WTA 250 tournaments and one ATP 250.
Australian Open Qualifying returns to Melbourne and commences on Monday 10 January.
The Australian Open Junior Championships are also back, and will be played during the second week of the AO, from 22-29 January.
A full calendar of wheelchair events will also be staged, with the Victorian Wheelchair Open and Melbourne Wheelchair Open both slated for the Hume Tennis Centre while the Australian Open Wheelchair Championships will run from 23-27 January at Melbourne Park.
“I would like to recognise and express our appreciation for the significant efforts of Tennis Australia in providing several WTA competition opportunities across various parts of Australia in 2022 as part of the summer of tennis,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said.
“Holding these WTA events maximises key playing opportunities as we kick off the 2022 season and allows the WTA Tour to showcase women’s tennis live to our many fans across Australia,” Simon continued.
ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi added: “The ATP Cup, combined with the four ATP 250 tournaments in the lead up to the Australian Open will provide a fantastic start to the 2022 ATP Tour season.
“There is no better place to kick off the season than in Australia, and we look forward to seeing the fans out in force in January.”
Team Serbia won the inaugural edition of the ATP Cup in 2020, which was played in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney over ten days and involved 24 national teams, while Russia cruised to victory in February in the second truncated edition, which was played in front of small, capped crowds at Melbourne Park due to COVID-19 restrictions when the number of teams was reduced to 12.
Next year’s Aussie swing is a dramatic increase from the number of tournaments staged ahead of AO 2021, when players had to undergo a two-week hotel quarantine on arrival, and crowds were either heavily restricted or shut out.