The Australian Open which was to start from 18th January has been pushed back by almost 20 days and is now expected to be held from 8th February to 21st February 2021 due to the issues pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic.
This three-week delay comes after the Wimbledon had to be cancelled earlier this year due to the pandemic which followed by the US Open and French Open being held behind closed doors.
The men’s qualifiers for the Grand Slam are expected to be held in Doha while Australia will continue to host several lead-up events including the flagship ATP Men’s Tour.
The tournament will be played in the city of Melbourne and fans are expected to be allowed inside the venue albeit with strict rules. The players competing in the tournament will reportedly have to undergo strict 14 day quarantine before playing their first match which means that the players will start arriving in Australia from the 15th of January.
The ATP has today announced an update to the 2021 ATP Tour calendar, outlining a revised schedule for the first seven weeks of the season.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) December 17, 2020
The confirmation of the dates for the tournament came after protracted negotiations between Tennis Australia and Victoria State Authorities in Melbourne, which emerged from months-long lockdown in October after a second wave of Covid-19.
There are reports which suggest that the players would stay at the designated hotels and will be allowed to practice 5 hours a day, but there has been no confirmation regarding the same from Tennis Australia.
The ATP said men's qualifiers for the Grand Slam would be held from January 10-13 in Doha, before players and limited support staff travel to Australia.
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 Slam which is now scheduled from February 8-21.
There was no word on where the women will play their qualifiers, with the WTA yet to announce its early-season schedule. But WTA tournaments are also expected to be played in Melbourne before the Open.