Tennis Australia announced a new tournament and a slight adjustment to the calendar leading up to the Australian Open. Two of the originally planned ATP events have been pushed back 24 hours and a new WTA 500 featuring 28 players is scheduled to start on Feb. 3.
Only players in hard quarantine will be eligible to play the new event, called the Grampians Trophy and set, like all the other events, to take place in Melbourne Park. Plenty of big names would be eligible to compete including Victoria Azarenka, Sofia Kenin, Bianca Andreescu, Sloane Stephens, Alison Riske and Angelique Kerber.
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The update to the calendar means that six tournaments will be held simultaneously the week before the Australian Open begins. The ATP Cup now begins on Feb. 2 while the two ATP 250s begin on Feb. 1. The two originally scheduled WTA 500 tournaments will have slightly reduced draws.
“This has been a particularly challenging time for the athletes in hard lockdown and we, along with the WTA and ATP, aim to do everything we can to help,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said. “These changes to the lead-in events have been made to give the 72 players a little bit of extra time to help them prepare. We also will prioritize them for things like practice sessions, gym and ice baths.”
There are 72 players in hard lockdown with roughly five days to go until they can start practicing. The Australian Open is scheduled to start on Feb. 8.