Ability To Practice During Australian Open Quarantine Period A Must

WASHINGTON, November 29, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

With just over seven weeks to go until the January 18 scheduled start of the Australian Open in Melbourne, the ability for players to practice in a bio-secure bubble while in a 14-day mandatory quarantine period has become one of the most significant aspects of the negotiations going on between Tennis Australia, the Victoria state government and the ATP and WTA tours.

While it seems a certainty that the starting date of the 2021 Australian Open will be pushed back by a week or two, everything continues to be fluid. In recent days, it appears that next year’s ATP Cup at the beginning of the season is a no-go and junior competition at the Australia Open has been cancelled. However, wheelchair competition will go ahead as planned. Up in the air is whether there will be a qualifying draw for the Australian Open. For now, players are being advised to stand down and not book travel for Australia just yet.

“Final determination on COVID-19 protocols, close contract procedures, and player support teams will be released soon,” according to a statement printed in The Age.

The ATP is expected to announce its first quarter calendar for 2021 sometime this week.

Millman details life in quarantine for The Tennis Podcast

Australia’s John Millman, who is his country’s second highest-ranked player at No. 38, recently returned home from Europe. He spoke with David Law and Catherine Whitaker of The Tennis Podcast from his Sydney hotel room where he’s quarantining for 14 days to describe life in quarantine. He talked very candidly about what it was like traveling the ATP Tour throughout the pandemic and looks ahead to possible scenarios for next year’s Australian Open.

WTA to change clarification of its tournaments

According to Spanish publication MARCA, the WTA will soon announce that beginning in 2021 it will rename its tournament classifications. Gone will be Premier Mandatory, Premier 5 and WTA International. In its place will be WTA 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing), WTA 500 (Doha/Dubai, Rome, Montreal/Toronto and Wuhan), WTA 250 and WTA 125. The WTA will adopt classifications that are similar to those used by the ATP Tour. However, the 1000, 500 and 250 does not reflect the number of points awarded to the tournament winners.

Karolina Pliskova – New year, new coach

Karolina Pliskova announced on social media this week that she’s teamed up with Sascha Bajin for 2021. Bajin has previously worked with Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, Kristina Mladenovic and Dayana Yastremska.

FAA Points for Change

Behind The Racquet – Leylah Fernandez

In the latest Behind The Racquet on Instagram (@behindtheracquet), Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, 17, knew as early as age 10 that she wanted to become a professional tennis player. As she grew older, the tri-lingual (English, Spanish, French) Fernandez realized the challenge of balancing tennis, school and friends would not be an easy one. However, Fernandez reveals she has no regrets as she embarked on a full-time professional career in the WTA this year. Earlier this year, she reached one final, at Acapulco. Last month, Fernandez reached a career-high ranking of No. 88. Learn more about her in her Behind The Racquet essay.

What they’re sharing on social media

Shelby Rogers / Post-Thanksgiving practice

Maria Sharapova / Post-tennis enjoyment

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga / That feeling …

Stan Wawrinka / There is always reason to smile