As reported by the Melbourne newspaper The Herald SunTennis Australia announced this Sunday a new calendar prior to the Australian Open with a third WTA 500 tournament and a 24-hour delay in the start of the two ATP 250 and the ATP Cup. Thus, it compensates and satisfies the demand of tennis players who suffer a severe confinement in the capital of the state of Victoria for having been in contact with some of the positives for COVID that were registered on the flights that arrived from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles. In total, the confinement without the five hours of daily departure to train that the rest of the players enjoy, affects 72, including the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, Mario Vilella and Paula Badosa, which is also one of the infected.
According to this plan, the new WTA 500 tournament, in which, among others, Azarenka, Kerber, Cirstea, Bencic, Sakkari, Rybakinba, Kostyuk, Andreescu, Kuznetsova, Jabeur, Putintseva and Strycova could participate, It will be played from February 3 to 7, while the other two, with a small reduction in table (28), will continue on the same dates, from January 31 to February 6. The ATP 250 will be played from 1 to 7, with an increase in the draw to 56 players, and the ATP Cup, from 2 to 6. Then the first Grand Slam of the course will arrive, from 8 to 21 of the same month. Everything will happen in the bubble of Melbourne Park. The best in the ranking, Nadal, Djokovic, Thiem, Halep and Osaka, plus the Williams sisters, will play an exhibition in Adelaide, where they are under lockdown, on February 29. Afterwards, the Serbian and the Spanish will join the ATP Cup.
Tennis players, in most cases, will come out of quarantine between Friday and Saturday next week. According The Herald Sun, The organizers are expected to benefit those who have suffered a harsh confinement in the daily order of play.