AO Journey Begins Soon In Dubai For Lucky 16 Winners

WASHINGTON, December 31, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Australian Open women’s qualifying tournament will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The qualifying draw will be held on January 9 and three rounds of qualifying play will take place from Jan. 10-13. From a field of 128 players, 16 winners will emerge to move on to Melbourne.

Among the highest-ranked players in the qualifying field are: No. 103 Aliona Bolsova of Spain, No. 104 Kaja Juvan of Slovenia, No. 107 Ocean Dodin of France and No. 110 Greet Minnen of Belgium. Other well-known players entered include: No. 115 Timea Babos of Hungary, a two-time Australian Open and Roland Garros doubles champion; 2014 Australian Open semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, ranked 141st; and No. 116 Stefanie Vogele of Switzerland, who is vying to make her eighth Australian Open main draw appearance.

“We appreciate the assistance of our friends and colleagues in Dubai for hosting the Australian Open 2021 women’s qualifying event due to the current travel restrictions into Australia,” Tennis Australia chief executive and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement.

“From the beginning of all of our planning for the AO, our objective has been to provide the players with as many competition opportunities and the ability to earn prize money as we possibly could.”

The field of 128 players will need to win three qualifying matches – all of them will be best-of-3 sets – to earn a berth in the main draw. The sixteen qualifiers and six alternate players will travel to Melbourne to begin 14 days of mandatory quarantine with the other main draw players. The 2021 Australian Open will take place from Feb. 8-21.

ATP concludes its Sam Querrey investigation

On Wednesday, the ATP concluded its investigation of 53rd-ranked American Sam Querrey, which was initiated following a breach of COVID-19 protocol at the St. Petersburg Open in St. Petersburg, Russia, in mid-October.

Two days after Querrey, 33, tested positive for the coronavirus and had withdrawn prior to his first-round match, he and his family – wife and then-eight-month-old son – fled Russia via private jet for an undisclosed country and location rather than quarantine in St. Petersburg.

“The investigation reviewed the full circumstances surrounding the incident and concluded Mr. Querrey’s conduct to be contrary to the integrity of the game under the Player Major Offense provision in the ATP Code of Conduct,” according to a story posted on the ATP Tour’s website. “As a result, the ATP has issued a fine of $20,000 (U.S. Dollars).”

The story went on to further state: “Taking into consideration Mr. Querrey’s many years of otherwise good standing with the ATP and other mitigating factors, the fine is suspended and will be lifted subject to Mr. Querrey committing no further breaches of Heath and safety protocols related to COVID-19 within a probationary six-month period. The player has five days to appeal the decision, should he choose to do so.”

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