The Impact of the Delay of the Australian Open on the ATP and WTA Calendar

The Impact of the Delay of the Australian Open on the ATP and WTA Calendar

With the coronavirus pandemic again re-emerging with its second wave, countries have taken strict actions. This has also put dark clouds over the 2021 Australian Open, which inevitably will be delayed. The postponement of the first Grand Slam of the year could result in some changes in the 2021 ATP and WTA calendars.

Rod laver Stadium Australian Open 2021
A general view of Rod Laver Arena. (Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Why is the Australian Open being postponed?

The Australian government had made the 14-day quarantine mandatory. Initially, players had decided to travel to Australia in December, but the government’s next ruling of not allowing players to come to Australia in December became a huge hurdle.

Now, players have to arrive in January, serve out their quarantine period, and then play a few pre-events. This will consume the whole month of January, and inevitably, the Australian Open will have to begin in February.

View of an ATP TOUR logo. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

How could the ATP calendar be affected by the postponement of the Australian Open?

The Australian Open being pushed to February does affect the ATP calendar. Looking at the 2020 calendar for reference, there are 12 tournaments scheduled in the month of February. And all these tournaments will have to be rescheduled in order to facilitate the Aussie Open.

Although there aren’t any Masters 1000 tournaments scheduled in February, some important tournaments do exist. The ATP 500 tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai are important ones and often feature top-ranked players.

Further, players have also asked for some pre-events before the Aus Open. As all the events will happen in Melbourne prior to the Aus Open, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer could play for them. Most of the time, the top players in the regular season wouldn’t have taken part in them, but the crunch schedule could force them to participate.

WTA logo
The WTA logo. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

How could the WTA Calendar be affected by the postponement of Australian Open?

Although WTA has fewer tournaments scheduled in February than the ATP, it has some big ones. It has three Premier level tournaments and two international level tournaments.

The Premier level tournaments could be accounted for to be close to the Masters 1000 tournaments in the ATP calendar. Those are important tournaments for the top players as they give a lot of ranking points and prize money. The three premier tournaments are in St. Petersburg, Dubai, and Doha.

Former Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens earlier tweeted a plan asking for a rescheduling of the tournaments in Doha and Dubai to January. She wrote, “I know its easier said then done but why not, for example, play Dubai-Doha in january instead, and give Australia more time like this?”

Tennis legend Ken Rosewall during 2020 ATP Cup
Tennis legend Ken Rosewall looks on during the 2020 ATP Cup Draw. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

ATP Cup cancelation

The biggest consequence of the whole Australian Open drama has been the ATP Cup. The 24 nations cup started in 2020 proved to be an exciting venture involving countries and providing a good warmup before the Aus Open. But now, due to no suitable dates in the congested calendar, the ATP Cup had to be canceled.

The postponement of the Australian Open makes it hard for both the WTA and ATP to fit the 12-month calendar in 11 months. Tournament congestion will be a worry again, and players might have to take extra care to keep away injuries.