AO appoints Hygiene Partner

A new partnership with global brand Initial as the Official Hygiene Partner of AO2021 has been announced by Tennis Australia as organisers continue to grapple with all the fall-out arising from efforts to organise the Aussie Summer of Tennis amid a global pandemic.

No new AO cases but an extra WTA lead-up event added

With no new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases recorded across Australia and 4 new infections reported in hotel quarantine in NSW and Victoria on Sunday, authorities said that there were no new cases linked to the Australian Open quarantine and that one case has now been...

Yastremska’s gamble backfires

When Dayana Yastremska, who was under a provisional ban by the ITF, boarded one of the charter flights to Melbourne, she was taking a big risk, and there were many raised eyebrows, especially because Tennis Australia was paying for her ticket and have been...

Sister defends Court

June Shanahan, Margaret Court’s sister, told Sydney radio station 2GB on Saturday that she was ‘disgusted’ at remarks made by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews condemning the awarding of the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) to the legendary player.

Murray will not be travelling down under

Andy Murray will not be competing at the season opening grand slam and admits he is ‘devastated’ to be missing the Australian Open after testing positive for Covid-19 12 days ago.

Laura Robson undergoes more surgery

Britain’s Laura Robson’s hopes of making a full on-court comeback took another downturn when she underwent a third hip surgery last week.

ATP Cup draw is made for Feb 1 kick-off

In eleven day’s time, the tennis news will switch from recalcitrant players discussing the problems they are facing during quarantine to actual action on the court. That will be a moment to celebrate as the game moves closer to the first grand slam of the season when...

Is Australia shooting itself in the foot?

Australia seems intent on shooting itself in the foot, as participants in the first Grand Slam of the year continue to draw criticism while fur flies over the funding of the quarantining of some 1,200 overseas visitors and Margaret Court is tipped to receive the...

Barty joins Adelaide exhibition

Ash Barty’s hopes of joining the elite group of players in Adelaide for an exhibition on 29 January have been fulfilled as the women’s World No 1 has been named to take part with Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Bernades taken to Melbourne hospital

Brazil’s professional umpire Carlos Bernardes suffered a heart attack In his Melbourne quarantine hotel room and was rushed to hospital on Wednesday, where he is said to be ‘doing well’.
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Tours kick off next week

Tennis fans starved of action can look forward to next week when both tours kick off 2021 in Delray Beach and Abu Dhabi to open the new season still under extreme pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first challenge to face was the health and safety protocols and the Covid test because it was new for us and we are talking about many things like on-site testing, creating bubble with the hotel, transport from airport to hotel, from hotel to tournament, then back and forth between tournament and hotel. We are talking about hundreds and hundreds of tests over the course of 10-12 days. John Butler, Tournament Director Delray Beach 

The Delray Beach Open starts off the ATP Tour from Monday, 4 January, having moved from its original date that clashed with the Australian Open’s move to 8 February.

Organisers have made significant changes in the midst of the global pandemic to ensure that the tournament in Florida takes place safely.

The 2021 edition will be the only ATP Tour event to feature both the ATP 250 and the ATP Champions Tour and attendance will be capped at 2000, just under 25 % of the Delray Beach Tennis Center’s capacity, to accommodate social distancing while all attendees will be required to wear masks during the tournament.

The Delray Beach Open will feature the ATP Tour Legends tournament from 4 to 6 January and the ATP 250 qualifying round on 5-6 January.

The main draw for the ATP 250 tournament, which will feature 28 singles players and 16 doubles teams, will start on 7 January.

There are two sessions every day until the day of the final on Wednesday 13 January.

“The first challenge to face was the health and safety protocols and the Covid test because it was new for us and we are talking about many things like on-site testing, creating bubble with the hotel, transport from airport to hotel, from hotel to tournament, then back and forth between tournament and hotel,” said Tournament Director John Butler.

“We are talking about hundreds and hundreds of tests over the course of 10-12 days.

“It’s going to be tough and it will take a couple of years to get back on par.

“We are limiting ourselves to 2000 spectators per session.

“We are currently implementing the highest standards. We are not obliged to do this under the rules of Florida, but we are doing it to ensure the safety of the crowd”,

The Delray Beach line-up features four former champions Kei Nishikori (2008), Sam Querrey (2016), Frances Tiafoe (2018) and Reilly Opelka (2020), three-time Grand Slam champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray, John Isner and Christian Garin.

Murray will start the Delray Beach tournament as a wild-card.

“I am looking forward to starting the 2021 season in Delray Beach. This event will be a good test for me and I am excited to be back playing on the Tour”, said Murray.


Meanwhile, the WTA 500 event, which runs from January 5-13 at Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre, will feature 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, WTA World No.5 Elina Svitolina, former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka, winner of the last two WTA titles of the 2020 season.

This is a new event on the women’s tour and features a 64 singles main draw and 32 doubles pairs, with $565,530 in prize money on offer.

It preceeds the Australian Open qualifying due to take place in Dubai from 10-13 January, with both events then allowing for travel to Melbourne from one of Tennis Australia’s designated charter flight hubs of Dubai, Singapore and Los Angeles.

On conclusion of those events, players and their respective support teams will travel to Australia where they will complete the mandatory two-week quarantine.

Following the quarantine period, two WTA 500 tournaments will be held concurrently in Melbourne Park from 31 January – 7 February.

The 2021 Australian Open will then take place from 8-21 February inclusive of singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

A WTA 250 will be held the second week of the Australian Open, allowing athletes to remain in Melbourne, securing three weeks of competition.

Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, said: “We are excited to announce the first swing of tournaments representing the opening weeks of the 2021 WTA season, all of which will operate in an environment that puts health and safety at the forefront.

“We want to express our sincere appreciation for the cooperation between key tennis stakeholders and organisations, along with the local health authorities who have been vital in getting us to this point.

“The hard work will continue as we look further ahead into 2021 to ensure a safe and robust calendar.”

The WTA has yet to announce any further details of its calendar beyond Melbourne, but the ATP has scheduled the first quarter of its Tour for 2021.




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