The 2021 ATP Tour Season Debuts At Delray Beach

Cristian Garin (photo: Andrew Patron/BigShots)

WASHINGTON, January 7, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

The Delray Beach Open by marks the return of the ATP Tour to North America.

Main draw play in the ATP Tour 250 outdoor hard-court event at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla., begins on Thursday with Sam Querrey and Mackenzie McDonald giving opening night a distinctive American flavor. The order of play also includes Tommy Paul, Ryan Harrison and Sebastian Korda, who concludes the day session against Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea.

Three Americans – Donald Young, Christian Harrison and Kevin King – plus Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador earned berths in the main draw through qualifying.

No. 1 seed Cristian Garin of Chile, ranked No. 22, is making his Delray Beach debut. He’s coming off a 18-12 season in which he won titles at Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro. He was originally projected to be the No. 2 seed this week before World No. 14 Milos Raonic withdrew from the tournament on Monday. Defending champion Reilly Opelka also pulled out on Monday because of a knee injury. All of this occurred a few days after two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray decided to withdraw rather than risk traveling to the U.S. before heading to Australian to begin mandatory quarantining before playing in next month’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

“I’d love to play a lot of matches (in Delray), but I have to get back in the rhythm (of competition),” Garin said in a story published on the tournament’s website. “Last year was really weird for me after Rio. I didn’t play tennis for two months, and then when i came back I did feel well playing in the tournaments. I know what I have to do this year. … To be honest, I just want to play matches.”

Besides Garin, other top seeds include: No. 2 seed John Isner (ranked 25th), No. 3 seed Adrian Mannarino (ranked 34th) and No. 4 seed Hubert Hurkacz (ranked 35th). There are 14 countries represented in the main draw and the United States has a contingent of 13 players entered.

Team Bryans win ATP Champions Tour event

Team Bryans captains Bob and Mike Bryan clinched the ATP Champions Tour event in Delray Beach, Fla., for their team Wednesday afternoon beating Luke and Murphy Jensen in the deciding match, 6-1, 6-1, for a four-points-to-three final advantage. Tommy Haas sent the event to a deciding match after beating Wayne Ferreira in straight sets.

Sakkari looks forward to representing Greece at Tokyo Games

During her virtual media chat with international press (including this reporter) following her first-round victory at the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open in the Emirates capital city, Greece’s 23rd-ranked Maria Sakkari (seeded ninth) was asked about how important the Olympics Games in Tokyo would be for her this year. She said: “It’s a dream come true you know. As a Greek tennis player – as a Greek athlete, actually – it’s probably one of the most important achievements in our careers as we all know the Olympics started in Greece.

“It’s a pretty unique feeling for us. I’m really looking forward. I actually cannot wait to compete there.”

When Sakkari was asked how the Olympics compared with the Grand Slams – the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open – she said it’s different “because we have four really big events in tennis. In track and field, for example, the Olympics are the most important thing. I love my country and know how important [winning] a medal for my country is. It’s important for me as well playing the Olympics trying to do my best and to win a medal.”

The Olympic tennis tournament will be held from July 24 to August 1, 2021.

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Dinner with the champions

What they’re writing

Tumaini Carayol, tennis correspondent for The Guardian of London, on how the Abu Dhabi heat is testing players on their return to the tour.

What they’re sharing on social media

Novak Djokovic / Merry Christmas Eve