Tennis Australia has locked in arrangements to begin the 2021 Australian Open on February 8, and the first restructuring of 2021 tennis tournament calendar has officially taken shape.
The Delray Beach Open, originally scheduled to begin its main-draw action on February 15, will now launch the 2021 ATP season on Tuesday, January 5. For those who can get to the ATP 250 event in South Florida, it provides a rare chance to compete ahead of the 14-day quarantine every competitor will need to complete upon arriving in Melbourne.
Those competitors will also be playing in front of fans—a maximum of 2,000, or roughly 25 percent of the venue’s stadium capacity.
“The City of Delray Beach along with our tournament staff worked very quickly to take advantage of this chance to play host to a season-opening event,” said tournament director Mark Baron. “The players are eager to get back to playing in tournaments and we are happy to provide that opportunity. We look forward to welcoming them as well as our fans to a healthy and safely produced event in a few short weeks.”
At the same time, another ATP 250 tournament will take place in Antalya, Turkey.
As previously rumored, Australian Open qualifying will not be held Down Under, in order to reduce the number of players and their respective companions entering the country. (As Jon Wertheim tweeted, “The Australian Government has capped the total participants allowed to enter Australia under the Special Practice Quarantine program to 1000 people. This quota applies to players and their team members.”) Instead, that portion of the tournament will be hosted in Doha, from January 10-13.
Once players have finished their two-week quarantines in Melbourne, where they will be permitted to spend five hours outside of their hotel room to train and practice each day, Tennis Australia will offer multiple playing opportunities in the lead-up to the main event. Beginning February 1, the ATP Cup will get underway in a truncated form, alongside a pair of ATP 250 events.
The ATP Challenger Tour also released the first five weeks of its calendar:
Calendar Update ‼️
The schedule for the first five weeks of the 2021 ATP Challenger Tour season has been released. ⬇️⬇️
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) December 17, 2020
As of now, the WTA has not announced its updated calendar.
We will continue to update this developing story.