Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka to Play Lead-Up Events of Australian Open 2021

Published 01/27/2021, 3:27 PM EST
Naomi Osaka of Japan cries after winning the Women’s Singles finals match alongside runner up Serena Williams of the United States on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka are currently in quarantine in Adelaide, Australia. Both the players have had limited practice timings, and now their quarantine will end soon. As the Australian Open 2021 begins on February 8th, players have one week to play pre-event in the week before Feb 8th.

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So Osaka and Serena have taken the opportunity and participated in WTA 500 tournaments, Yarra Valley Classic, and Gippsland Trophy respectively scheduled from 31st of January to 6th of February.

Serena Williams seeded fifth in the Yarra Valley Classic

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Serena William celebrating her win. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

First, if we consider Serena Williams, she will be playing the WTA 500 event, Yarra Valley Classic. It is a brand new event and will take place at Melbourne Park. Serena is seeded fifth in the star-studded entry list. World No.1 Ash Barty leads the playing field.

The reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin is seeded second. And then Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova along with Serena, complete the top five seeds.

Yarra Valley Classic will have total prize money of $565,530. It is a hard court tournament with a shortened draw of 54 players.

Naomi Osaka is seeded second in Gippsland Trophy

The reigning US Open 2020 champ, Naomi Osaka will be in the other WTA 500 tournament, Gippsland Trophy. As Osaka ranks much higher in the WTA rankings, she is seeded second only behind Simona Halep. This tournament will also be held at Melbourne Park as well.

The other prominent players joining Osaka are reigning French Open 2020 champion Iga Swiatek, Elina Svitolina, Aryna Sabalenka, and others.

Gippsland Trophy has a similar, $565,530 of prize money to the Yarra Valley Classic. It also has a shortened draw of 54 players.

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates winning US Open 2020. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Osaka and Serena are on the less controversial side of the Australian Open 2021 bubble. But since some of the elite players are quarantining in Adelaide instead of Melbourne, it has raised questions regarding partiality from the organizers.

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The Australian Open 2021 bubble in Melbourne has experienced a lot of controversies. From food troubles to no practice sessions, players have revolted, but Tennis Australia has stood by its rules.

For Osaka and Serena, nothing will be as perfect as match practice. Thus, it will be important that they go deep in their respective tournaments because both of them had ended their 2020 season early.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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