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.”
The 2021 @AustralianOpen will be more #tennis, less festival as #Covid restricts fan engagement activities, which has led to some impairment negotiations with key sponsors for the event. https://t.co/lwPzf0tVpF
— Courtney Walsh (@walshcee) December 21, 2020
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.
Career best ranking win for @JackDraper0
Jack gets the better of Cam Norrie 7-6, 7-6 to take the victory at the Battle of the Brits pic.twitter.com/euVFc9mMVj
— LTA (@the_LTA) December 21, 2020
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).
A masterclass from @HeatherWatson92 👏👏👏
Watson beat Jodie Burrage 6-1, 6-4 at the Battle of the Brits Premier League of Tennis pic.twitter.com/kNVZaXTdum
— LTA (@the_LTA) December 21, 2020
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.
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
Le 18 déc à 17h12 est née Kamilya, notre petite princesse. Nous sommes les parents les plus heureux du monde 👸👶😍 Nous remercions Dieu pour ce magnifique cadeau du ciel
Je t’aime ma fille, je t’aime mon mari 💜💜 #kamilya #bebe pic.twitter.com/LPRN2GYf4l
— Marion bartoli (@bartoli_marion) December 20, 2020
Happy 66th birthday, Chris Evert
Happy birthday to my very dear friend, and a true champion on and off the court, Chrissie Evert. 🎂🎊 pic.twitter.com/9HtU3D2obf
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) December 21, 2020
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.”
— Simon Cambers (@scambers73) December 21, 2020
Wimbledon: Wintertime at SW19
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) December 20, 2020
Petra Kvitova: A nice way to finish a challenging year
Honoured to be awarded with this Czech player of the year trophy and to wear this beautiful dress by Natali Ruden. A nice way to finishing a challenging year 🙏@ALO_Diamonds @TAGHeuer pic.twitter.com/z0v144yrcT
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) December 20, 2020
What they’re sharing on social media
Karolina Pliskova / Hiking Sunday
Hiking Sunday 💚 pic.twitter.com/KLBmvWsqEA
— Karolina Pliskova (@KaPliskova) December 20, 2020