Australian Open 2021 pushed to February 8: Details here
The Australian Open 2021 has been pushed back to February 8 after weeks of negotiations as COVID-19 disruption hits a second Grand Slam tennis season. According to AFP, the men's qualifiers will be held in Doha. Meanwhile, Australia will host a series of build-up events including the flagship ATP Cup, the men's ATP Tour said, announcing its early 2021 schedule. Here's more.
Players will need to undergo 14 days of quarantine
The report adds that fans are expected to be allowed at Melbourne Park as the coronavirus is under control in Australia, but players will need to undergo 14 days of quarantine. The confirmation of the dates comes after protracted talks between Tennis Australia and state authorities in Melbourne, which emerged from a months-long lockdown in October following a second wave of the novel coronavirus.
Players will serve two weeks in a bio-secure bubble
The Australian Open was earlier due to start on January 18. Players will now arrive in Australia from January 15 to serve two weeks in a bio-secure bubble. Earlier, reports said they would stay at designated hotels but would be allowed to practice and exercise for up to five hours a day, shuttled between their accommodation and Melbourne Park.
Key details about the men's ATP season start
The men's qualifiers for the Grand Slam event would be held from January 10-13 in Doha, before players and limited support staff travel to Australia. Meanwhile, a slimmed-down, 12-team ATP Cup, the relocated Adelaide International, and an ATP 250 tournament will all be held in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open which is now scheduled from February 8-21.
Safety measures are being focused on
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews earlier said he remained committed to holding the Australian Open. However, he stated that safety was paramount. "Unlike every other tennis tournament that the men's and women's tours will play this year, only the Australian Open is a tennis tournament in a city where it can likely be assumed that those players will bring the virus here," he told reporters.
COVID-19 had disrupted the tennis season in 2020
The three-week delay to the 2021 season opening Grand Slam comes after this year's Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War II. Meanwhile, the French Open was postponed and the US Open was played behind closed doors.