Melbourne the big winner of 2021 ATP calendar

news Dec 17, 2020

By Val Febbo

All the discussion and pondering is behind us, the ATP has finally released the first instalment of its 2021 rolling calendar with some key omissions and date changes for some of tennis’ showpiece events.

The Australian Open will commence on February 8, three weeks after the planned start date, whilst Melbourne will host the entire yet condensed ATP Cup in the week prior to the first major of 2021.

Rod Laver Arena will be even more of a focal point in 2021

Furthermore, the city will host two ATP events in the week leading up to the ATP Cup, it is undecided if Melbourne Park will host all of the action of if events will be spread throughout the state of Victoria.

The 2021 season will begin with two events in the opening week of the season, one in the Turkish city of Antalya and another in Florida’s Delray Beach before the strangest of notions that the Australian Open’s qualifying event will be held from the 10th to the 13th of January in Doha, Qatar.

The reason for the overseas qualification event is to allow players to reach Melbourne on a safe date considered by both state and federal governments, whilst also allowing European, Asian, American and African players a shorter commute to the event due to quarantine procedures and flight costs.

However, the qualifying decision has drawn great criticism from an Australian front, with fans and pundits pointing out the expenses from the extra travel and quarantine procedures that the home contingent would never normally deal with.

But with the close proximity of the rest of the field and the ability for Tennis Australia to give wildcards, it will unfortunately have to be the Middle East for those Australians who are not awarded the luxury of a wildcard.

 
 
 
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ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has applauded his team, Tennis Australia and many other groups and organisations for making the events possible.

“The reconfigured calendar for the start of the 2021 season represents a huge collaborative effort across tennis, under challenging circumstances. 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.”

The WTA schedule is not yet released.

Val Febbo is a tennis writer and host of Break Point Podcast

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