Aussie Summer Will Have A Different Look In 2021

WASHINGTON, November 17, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

On Monday, Australia’s tennis organizers decided on a detailed plan that will enable ATP and WTA events to go on as scheduled in the state of Victoria, home to the city of Melbourne and the Australian Open.

Tennis Australia said events that normally are held in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart will take place instead in Melbourne or in one of the country’s regional tennis centers such as Bendigo and Traralgon. While Australia’s international borders are restricted, there are also domestic travel restrictions between various Australian states.

The idea, of course, is to create a safe environment for players. In doing so, it minimizes the risk for players traveling and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, Tennis Australia will create a quarantine and practice hub and a bio-secure playing hub for elite players.

Brisbane Tennis, the Twitter account for the ATP Cup and WTA Brisbane International tournaments, on Monday tweeted stating their events would be transferring to Victoria for 2021. “All lead-in events to the Australian Open will be held in Victoria to ensure all players can safely compete in, and prepare for, the grand slam. See you in 2022!”

Also, the Hobart International released a statement on Monday that said it had “been decided that the Australian summer of tennis will be played in Victoria in 2021.”

According to Australian Associated Press, “Tennis Australia said logistics, including draw sizes and scheduling, were being worked through for the weeks ahead of the Australian Open, which is due to start Jan. 18. Mark Handley, who is the ATP Cup general manager and tournament director for the Brisbane International, said the decision to move all Australia’s tournaments to a secure hub was done to provide some certainty for the players and allow them enough time to prepare for the Australian Open.”

“‘There’s an influx of 2,600 international players and their entourages coming in from all over the world, that’s the defining factor.’ Handley told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.”

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley told News Corp., “There is now no risk of the Australian Open going ahead without everyone in Victoria and we didn’t have that guarantee previously. Now, it’s a matter of working out with the Victorian government what the quarantining program looks like, that it ensures the safety of the community and then of course the safety of the players coming in.”

Organizers are working with the ATP and WTA to determine the upcoming calendar of events. It is expected that players will start arriving in Australia in mid-December in order to begin quarantining.

Friends and rivals – and doubles partners, too

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Elise Mertens from Belgium, good friends and doubles partners, who have won a Grand Slam title and three other crowns, faced each other for the Upper Austrian Ladies Linz singles title Sunday afternoon. Sabalenka won 7-5, 6-2. It was her second consecutive singles title following the J&T Banka Ostrava Open in the Czech Republic last month. Thanks to their results in Linz, Sabalenka finished the season ranked No. 10 and Mertens No. 20.

Afterward, during their respective virtual press conferences, each reflected on the moment for Tennis TourTalk:

“Losing a final is always a little like, you came so far only to lose,” said Mertens, who led the WTA in victories this season with 34, “but she played so well, and all credit to her game. I have to work on some things. But for next season, I want to do well, play consistently, and that’s what I was able to do after corona. Playing against Top 10 and [Top] 20 players will always involve tough matches, but the more you play them, the more you understand their patterns.”

After finishing the season on a nine-match winning streak and capturing her second straight title to finish the season tied with Simona Halep with three in 2020, Sabalenka said, “This is something amazing. I don’t want to say anything, and just cross my fingers so more wins come to me. This is the perfect end to my season, so I can be happy and relaxed for my holidays the next month and pre-season. I’ll keep working hard to make sure I can maintain this level next season.”

Medvedev, Lacoste extend relationship

Djokovic gives thanks to his family and friends

Way Back Machine / Roger and Novak 

What they’re writing

• Kevin Mitchell, tennis correspondent, The Guardian, on The ATP Finals

“So, this is the way the ATP finals end. Not with a bang but the hum of the air-conditioning system in an empty 20,000-seat hall competing with the echoing squeak of the players’ shoes on the first of eight long days in the event’s farewell to London after 12 years. 

“Granted, it doe not scan quite like TS Eliot would have intended. But it might do as an elegy for a bleak season as the bet players in the world strive to care about the integrity of their endeavors while the world outside goes silently about its socially distanced business.

“Normally the O2 Arena in North Greenwich would be alive to the sounds of fans on day one, with the assembled church of Roger gathered under Swiss flags like so many Red Cross volunteers, and the rest squeezed into other corners of the venue Now, there is them – the eight players (minus the injured Federer), a few officials and ball kids, scattered friends and coaches – and us, pretending not to be nearing a peak at the Masters golf on our gadgets.

“It is not the players’ fault, of course, this end-of-term torpor in the dark.”

• Ubaldo Scanagatta, editor, UbiTennis, on Jannik Sinner

“… it’s the blessings of so many champions, both past and present, that makes me believe that there is no fluke, and that his destiny is to reach new heights in a short time span. Pospisil didn’t just project him as a Top 10 player, he stated that he could go all the way to the rankings’ pinnacle. Yesterday, he played far from h is best game, but this is a sign of surefire greatness, because he found a way to scratch his way to a win.

“The press will certainly ease up in the next final, and the same goes for the third, the fourth, and so on. He will keep improving, a more important datum that precociousness records or discussions over his potential, a dangerous word that most of the time stays on paper.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Elina Svitolina / Beautiful mountain views

Garbiñe Muguruza / Chef Mugu

Jannik Sinner / That’s a wrap on 2020

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