The lead-up to the Australian Open 2021 has not been an auspicious one for the organizers, with three flight-loads of players forced into hard quarantine without practice after some crew members tested positive for COVID-19.
Worse, a total of 10 people involved with the tournament, including four players, also tested positive in the subsequent days, adding to the worries of top tournament officials, who have also been sweating on reports of players complaining about the quality of food being served during the quarantine.
The unsavory headlines, however, haven’t dulled or slackened the hectic pre-tournament activities and it now turns out that six different tournaments will be held in Australia over the next week, starting January 31, before the year’s first Grand Slam kicks off on February 8.
While most players who have arrived for the tournament are quarantining in Melbourne, the host city, the top-3 across the men’s and women’s fields are being hosted in the South Australian city of Adelaide.
Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be among the eight top players to feature in a curtain-raiser event in Adelaide named A Day at the Drive. It will be held at the Memorial Drive Tennis Center on January 29.
Now, there’s news that WTA, in collaboration with Tennis Australia, has wedged in another women’s event before Grand Slam action begins at Melbourne Park.
The event, to be staged from February 3 to 7, will only feature players currently in hard quarantine. It will have a 28-player draw without any qualifying or doubles fixtures. As many as 27 of 31 WTA players, who are in hard quarantine right now, only play singles.
Then there’s another ATP 250 event that will be hosted by Melbourne on the same dates as the Adelaide one. However, the biggest of them all is the ATP Cup, a team event to be held from February 1 to 5.