Most of the 2020 tennis games came to an end on Sunday evening, with Daniil Medvedev winning the Nitto ATP Finals at the 02 Arena in London and now, all focus is turned to 2021.
Traditionally, the 2021 tennis games calendar would be less than 2 months away, with the Australian Open (and its prior tournaments) kicking it off in Melbourne, Victoria. But with the raging pandemic and the different countries’ measures to curb its spread, a fixed date for when the first serve will be made at the Rod Laver Arena has not yet been announced. This is mainly because of the health concerns and regulations to be put in place for the players, fans and all other participants.
Australia requires a mandatory fortnight’s quarantine period for international visitors, which makes the initial slated commencement date of January 18 unachievable. Tennis Australia CEO and tournament boss Craig Tiley said the organizing committee was hoping to announce the start date as soon as possible, to give players certainty on when they should travel and when fans can buy the event’s tickets.
Shading light on when the tournament will kick off, Tiley said, “Our intention is to deliver a summer in conditions that allow players to prepare and perform at their best, and the fans to enjoy their efforts, all in an environment that is safe for all concerned. We are working closely with the Victorian Government on a plan that takes into account the needs of players, fans, our partners and staff, and is a major benefit to the Victorian and Australian economy.”
He added that the organizing committee is continuing its urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and that they are confident they will have a decision soon.
Tennis Australia CEO still uncertain about the start dates of 2021 Australian Open due to the pandemic
As uncertainty about the kick-off dates of the tournament continues, World No.2 Rafael Nadal urged patience over the arrangements for the Australian Open after losing in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals to eventual Champion Medvedev on Saturday.
“I don’t know what’s the situation going to be yet, we need to wait about what the government there in Victoria says,” said Nadal in his post-match interview. He continued, “We can’t do much from ATP position or just wait. We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing. That is difficult for everyone. We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year.”
Australian tennis chiefs last week flagged “new challenges” around the arrival of players for the first Grand Slam of the year during the pandemic such as the 14-days quarantine, whether the players will be allowed to train during their quarantine.
These challenges make the chances of playing the ATP tournaments before the scheduled start of the Australian Open in Melbourne slim. With all challenges and possible solutions put into consideration, we are certain that the 2021 Tennis Season will kick off earliest February.
Author: Katende Basajjabaka
Katende writes about sports and occasionally technology.