10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

TENNIS • 2021 ATP Calendar Update: Delray Beach Starts Year Off, Australian Open Begins In Melbourne In February

February 2021 is when Melbourne assumes its position as tennis capital of the world, hosting a pair of 250s, the ATP Cup, and the Australian Open. Photo: Novak Djokovic poses with Dominic Thiem after winning the men’s singles final against Dominic Thiem in 2020.

By Ricky Dimon

The ATP released its official schedule for the first two months of the upcoming season last week.

Set for a Jan. 5 start, the 2021 campaign will begin with 250-point hard-court tournaments in Delray Beach (previously in February) and Antalya (previously in the summer on grass). There will be no other main-tour events in January, but Australian Open qualifying will take place in Doha from Jan. 10-13. February is when Melbourne assumes its position as tennis capital of the world, hosting a pair of 250s, the ATP Cup, and the Australian Open.

The new Melbourne 250s make up for the cancellations of tournaments that used to be held in Adelaide and Auckland at the beginning of each year (one of the Melbourne events is technically a relocated “Adelaide”). They will be played simultaneously with the scaled-down ATP Cup, which will have only 12 teams in one location this time around. Last season’s inaugural ATP Cup–won by Serbia–was held in various cities throughout Australia.

Following required two-week quarantines for players arriving Down Under, the Australian Open can begin on Feb. 8. That is a start three weeks later than normal for the season’s first Grand Slam.

“The reconfigured calendar for the start of the 2021 season represents a huge collaborative effort across tennis, under challenging circumstances,” stated ATP chairman Gaudenzi. “Together with the support of our tournament and player members, partners, and Tennis Australia, we have been able to adapt and create an exciting start to the season. Health and safety will continue to be paramount as we navigate the challenges ahead, and I want to thank everyone involved for their commitment to finding solutions to launch our 2021 season.”

There is still too much uncertainty to confirm a schedule beyond the Australian Open, but official post-AO cancellations include an ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro and ATP 250s in New York ( no big loss …)  and Pune.

The Indian Wells BNP Masters will not be played in March, but it could be postponed until later in the year as opposed to being canceled outright.

Entry lists in Antalya and Delray Beach should be revealed early this week. Benoit Paire was among the first to confirm his plans via Twitter. The Frenchman posted on Twitter that he will play Antalya, the ATP Cup, and of course the Aussie Open.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.