Upcoming Australian Open Will Have A Different Fan Vibe

WASHINGTON, December 22, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

While much discussion about the upcoming Australian Open has focused on its revised dates – Feb. 8-21 instead of a mid-January start – one thing that will be evident to those who attend will be a different look and feel to fan zone activities such as concerts and culinary events.

As the Australian Open has gained more popularity over the past decade – establishing itself as the “Happy Slam” – the major’s governing body, Tennis Australia (TA), has turned the fortnight into a lively festival from Federation Square to the Richmond Train Station.

Obviously, because of health and safety concerns and protocols brought on by Covid-19, there will be far fewer fans attending the Australian Open and fewer concerts and culinary events and activities, too. Thanks to social distancing and Covid-safe measures, it will all have an impact on Tennis Australia’s bottom line, according to TA chief executive Craig Tiley.

Tiley told The Australian, “We are an event where a lot of our partners are spending money on activations as part of their outlay and activations are going to be restricted or limited, so that part will have some impairment.

“It is going to be in double-digits (in terms of) impairment and then, of course, ticket sales are going to be 50 percent less. We may get to have more fans. We don’t know yet. But the broadcasters, for the most part, hold.”

Battle of the Brits: Draper upsets Norrie

British No. 8 Jack Draper, ranked 303rd, pulled off the biggest upset of Day 2 in the Battle of the Brits Premier League of Tennis at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, England, on Monday afternoon.

The 18-year-old Draper, a native of Sutton, England who turned pro two years ago, defeated 25-year-old British No. 3 Cameron Norrie, ranked 71st, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), in two hours and 10 minutes. Draper won 70 percent of his first-serve points, hit six aces and broke Norrie’s serve once in three tries. Draper’s win proved to be a nice rebound after losing his opening-day match to Liam Broady, 7-5, 6-4 on Sunday.

In the featured women’s match, British No. 2 Heather Watson (ranked 58th) easily beat British No. 7 Jodie Burrage (ranked 262nd), 6-1, 6-4, in one hour and 28 minutes to improve to 2-0 in the round-robin competition. Also, British No. 11 Emma Raducanu (ranked 345th) won her second straight match of the event with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over British No. 9 Katy Dunne (ranked 322nd).

Meanwhile, a trio of first-day losers rebounded to win their respective second-day matches.British men’s No. 1 Dan Evans (ranked 32nd) rallied from his first-day loss to three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray by defeating British No. 9 Jan Choinski (ranked 347th), 7-5, 6-0. Also, British women’s No. 16 Eden Silva (ranked 490th) beat No. 587 Alicia Barnett, 6-2, 2-6, 10-7, and No. 564 Aidan McHugh took out No. 560 Anton Matusevich, 6-4, 2-6, 10-8.

Battle of the Brits Monday results/standings

Battle of the Brits Tuesday schedule

Melbourne: Who’s practicing with whom?

As players will begin descending upon Melbourne in a few weeks for their mandatory two weeks quarantining before the start of the Australian Open, thanks to social media, we are beginning to learn of a few of the training duos for the first week, courtesy of L’Equipe tennis writer Quentin Moynet:

Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner

Diego Schwartzman and Stan Wawrinka

David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov

Kyle Edmund and Karen Khachanov

Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic

Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak

Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev

Marion Bartoli: Baby makes three

Happy 66th birthday, Chris Evert

On the occasion of her 66th birthday, it’s worth taking time to look at Chris Evert‘s longtime rivalry with Martina Navratilova. That’s just what Simon Cambers did for Tennis Majors. As well learn from Evert, “we are still fighting for recognition.”

Wimbledon: Wintertime at SW19

Petra Kvitova: A nice way to finish a challenging year

What they’re sharing on social media

Karolina Pliskova / Hiking Sunday