10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Moving Dates In 2021 Tennis Calendar • Australian Open Expected To Be Delayed, Madrid Masters Now Two Week Event

Novak Djokovic poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup trophy after his five-set win against Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open final.

By Ricky Dimon

Still more than a month away, next year’s tennis calendar is already in limbo.

The biggest story for 2021 right now is, of course, the Australian Open and really the entire Australian summer. After all, that is what’s first up on the schedule–or supposed to be first up on the schedule, at least.

It remains to be seen what the summer Down Under will look like, where it will be, and when it will take place. One proposed scenario has not only the Australian Open but also all of the warmup events being held in a Melbourne bubble. Among many issues is the question of when players can arrive in Victoria (the state in which Melbourne is located) and how long they have to quarantine before resuming tennis activities.

The 2021 Australian Open was–and still is–scheduled to begin on Jan. 18. That start date could be pushed back to Jan. 25 or perhaps even the first week of February.

“There’s a number of potential dates on the table,” said Victorian sports and tourism minister Martin Pakula. “I’ve seen reports that suggest that it’s likely to be delayed by a week or two; I think that’s still most likely. But it’s not the only option.

“As you know, the French Open was delayed by many months and Wimbledon didn’t occur at all. I still think it’s much more likely that it will be a shorter rather than longer delay. I don’t want to unduly repeat myself but these are very complex negotiations.”

Sofia Kenin poses for photos with the Daphne Ackhurst Memorial Cup after winning the Australian Open championship.

Slated for three months later on the calendar, the Mutua Madrid Open hopes to be dealing with no such coronavirus-related issues. Regardless, though, the tournament confirmed on Wednesday that it will be a two-week event in 2021–similar to fellow Masters 1000s in Indian Wells and Miami. The Madrid Masters will begin on April 27 and run through May 9.

Like Indian Wells and Miami, main-draw action will begin in the middle of the first week before the finals are held on the second Sunday.

“We’re happy to have achieved the goal of becoming a two-week tournament,” TD Feliciano Lopez announced. “We sought this expansion and it is well-deserved, necessary and will allow us to enjoy the best tennis in the world at the Caja Mágica for a few more days. I’m sure that both our sponsors and all the fans will welcome this news with open arms, as well as the city of Madrid, which will receive more visitors for a longer period of time.”

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.