PARIS (AFP) – The 2021 WTA season will start in Abu Dhabi on January 5, the governing body of women’s tennis said, as it unveiled an early-season calendar that revolves around the Australian Open.
The season will kick off with the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open, a WTA 500 level event on January 5-13, while qualifying for the Australian Open will take place in Dubai on January 10-13.
Players and their support staff will then travel to Australia where they will complete the mandatory two-week COVID-19 quarantine period.
The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, has already been delayed from its normal January slot and will take place on February 8-21. In the build-up to the tournament in Melbourne, two WTA 500 tournaments will be held concurrently in Melbourne Park on January 31-February 7.
WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said on Friday the early-season events “will operate in an environment that puts health and safety at the forefront”.
“The hard work will continue as we look further ahead into 2021 to ensure a safe and robust calendar,” he said in a statement.
The WTA 250 tournaments in Auckland and Shenzhen will not be held in 2021 due to travel restrictions but the WTA said it hoped to restore them to the calendar in 2022.