WTA plan to start the 2021 season outside Australia
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) is planning to start the 2021 season in first week of January outside Australia. Thereafter, the players will travel to Melbourne for quarantine ahead of the year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, the details of which are yet to be ascertained. Notably, the women's tour chief Steve Simon opened up on the development. Here is more.
As per reports, Tennis Australia (TA) continues talks with local government so that COVID-19 protocols could be established at the Melbourne Park. Negotiations regarding the arrival of players in Australia and their stay during the two weeks of quarantine have prolonged over the last few weeks. However, Simon is confident the Australian Open would certainly go ahead.
"The Australian Open, we're expecting it to happen. Obviously the Australian Open will come with a quarantine period to enter Australia so it does create challenges around the month of January," Simon told Reuters.
Simon added that the WTA has planned short tune-up tournaments in Australia following the quarantine period in Australia. This will also include the high-profile Australian Open. "We're looking right now at hopefully close to finalising in the next week or so the ability to stage some events in the week of January to start the year," added Simon.
Both the WTA and ATP are expected to confirm their 2021 calendars, once the details of the Australian Open are approved. Usually, both the tours kick-off their seasons in Australia, however, they could be shifted outside Australia this time due to COVID-19 outbreak.
It is understood that the Australian Open, which was slated to commence on January 18, will be postponed from its original schedule. Earlier this week, it was reported that the 2021 Australian Open is likely to start from February 8 onwards. Notably, the previous edition of the historic Grand Slam event was held between January 20 and February 2.