The Australian Open will begin on February 8 next year, three weeks later than planned, because of the Covid-19 pandemic - according to the ATP Tour.
The men’s professional circuit has stated that the first Grand Slam of next year will take place between February 8-21, although organisers in Melbourne, the WTA Tour and the International Tennis Federation are yet to make a statement on arrangements for the women’s and wheelchair events.
The tournament is complicated by Australia’s strict 14-day quarantine rules for arrivals into the country, unless from within the ‘green travel zone’, with no exemptions for sport.
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The ATP Tour’s revised seven week schedule for the start of the new campaign includes a four-day Australian Open qualifying competition in Doha from January 10-13, which will allow players who’ve progressed enough time to complete their quarantine period when they arrive for the tournament.
All men’s players and support staff have been given between January 15-31 to travel to Melbourne, with a "controlled environment quarantine period" enabling preparations to be made for two warm-up events - a 12-team ATP Cup and the Adelaide International, which is being relocated to the city in Victoria.
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“The reconfigured calendar for the start of the 2021 season represents a huge collaborative effort across tennis, under challenging circumstances”, said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
“Together with the support of our tournament and player members, partners, and Tennis Australia, we have been able to adapt and create an exciting start to the season.
“Health and safety will continue to be paramount as we navigate the challenges ahead, and I want to thank everyone involved for their commitment to finding solutions to launch our 2021 season.”
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