WASHINGTON, December 30, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
The ATP calendar for March became clearer on Tuesday. While familiar destinations like Doha and Dubai and Montpellier and Marseille remain – albeit during different weeks than usual – missing in 2021 for the second straight year will be Indian Wells. An official announcement from the ATP Tour about weeks 8-13, which include the European indoor and Latin American and Middle East swings – as well as the Masters 1000 in Miami – came within hours after several reliable sources like L’Equipe and Tennis Majors began leaking information of what the post-Australian Open portion of the 2021 men’s tennis season – from Feb. 20 through April 4 – was expected to resemble.
Finally, after the announcement came in mid-afternoon (Central European Time), here’s how the post-Australian Open calendar shaped up:
• Feb. 20-28: Cordoba (ATP 250 outdoor clay); Feb. 21-28: Montpellier (ATP 250 indoor hard court)
• Feb. 27-March 7: Rotterdam (ATP 500 indoor hard court); Buenos Aires (ATP 250 outdoor clay)
• March 6-13: Doha (ATP 250 outdoor hard court); March 6-14: Santiago (ATP 250 outdoor clay); March 7-14: Marseille (ATP 250 indoor hard court)
• March 13-20: Acapulco (ATP 500 outdoor hard court); Dubai (ATP 500 outdoor hard court)
• March 22-April 4: Miami (ATP Masters 1000 outdoor hard court)
Due to the impact of COVID-19, which has seen a spike in coronavirus cases in California resulting in stricter stay-at-home orders, the BNP Paribas Open in the California palm desert town of Indian Wells, will not be played in early March for the second straight year. It was Indian Wells that was the first major sporting event in the United States to cancel in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation sent pro tennis into a five-month lockdown until August. According to the ATP Tour press release, “alternative dates are being assessed for the tournament to potentially take place later in the year.”
Details will be released in the near future as plans are finalized. This decision was made after thorough consultation with state and local health authorities and tournament owner Larry Ellison.
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) December 29, 2020
For now, the rest of the 2021 calendar following Miami, starting April 5 with the European spring clay season, remains as scheduled. Stay tuned.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Latest to withdraw from Australian Open
On Tuesday, France’s 62nd-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga announced on his social media platforms that he has withdrawn from the Australian Open. “Despite great progress in recent months, I am still not able to play in competition. In agreement with the medical team, the Australian Open is therefore compromised this year.”
With Tsonga’s withdrawal confirmed, his place in the main draw will be taken by No. 106 Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Australian Open ❌ pic.twitter.com/DjNGay4RWw
— Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (@tsonga7) December 29, 2020
Iga Swiatek: New Rolex brand ambassador
According to Marek Furjan, a Polish sports broadcaster at Eurosport, French Open women’s champion Iga Swiatek has signed a contract with Rolex to be a brand ambassador.
Iga Świątek, prawdopodobnie jako pierwsza Polka w historii, będzie ambasadorką marki Rolex!⌚
Do tej elitarnej rodziny w ostatnich latach dołączali Muguruza, Kerber, Andreescu, Bencić, Woźniacka oraz Thiem, Tsitsipas, del Potro, Dimitrow i Tsonga.
I oczywiście Roger Federer.
— Marek Furjan (@MarekFurjan) December 29, 2020
Practice with Petra and Barbora …
— Barbora Strycova (@BaraStrycova) December 29, 2020
Happy 31st Birthday, Kei Nishikori
Happy birthday, @keinishikori 🎉 🇯🇵
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) December 29, 2020
Wishing Roger Federer all the best …
Wishing @rogerfederer all the best as he continues to recover from knee surgeries…
The 20-time Grand Slam champion will miss the @AustralianOpen for the first time in his career in 2021
He is planning to make his return to competitive action after the tournament 💪 pic.twitter.com/G4OVgaFZTW
— ITF (@ITFTennis) December 28, 2020
… Roger wishes a fan a Happy 100th Birthday
“A card with “ Merry Christmas and happy 100th birthday Signed by Roger Federer himself. Maria- Louisa De Belder received this.
Not coincidentally, because the woman, also a big fan of the tennis legend, also turned 100 on that day.”
— Dinora❣RF is the 🐐 (@norinchi_df) December 27, 2020
What they’re saying
What I would definitely like to see in 2021 on @atptour player council, that the coach and the alumni member are allowed to vote 🗳 the 10 player vote right now should absolutely be 12 https://t.co/XEmTLJYHQn
— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) December 29, 2020
What they’re writing
As many fans have joked this month, a @rogerfederer retirement would be “so 2020.”
For his final act, wouldn’t it be fitting if he could stick around long enough to remind us what life, and tennis, was like before 2020 happened?
— TENNIS (@Tennis) December 29, 2020
What they’re sharing on social media
LTA / It wasn’t just humans who loved tennis in 2020.
It wasn’t just humans who loved tennis in 2020
📸 Instagram: leomthelop, london.cockapoo.otis, tennisonlinet, rubythegolden33 pic.twitter.com/fDAvZrXgMI
— LTA (@the_LTA) December 29, 2020