Great news: from January 5 to 13, a new WTA 500 tournament will be held in Abu Dhabi
The 2020 pandemic caused by coronavirus infection has provoked many problems for almost all of us. Athletes are also no exception. Not only that almost all tournaments throughout the year were held without spectators, depriving athletes of the familiar atmosphere enjoyment, but at least half of the tournaments were also either postponed or completely cancelled. Of course, no one can predict how events in the sports world will develop in the coming year. However, some good news is already emerging.
The other day, the news leaked to the network that a new WTA 500 tournament will be held in Abu Dhabi from January 5 to 13 at the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Complex, and it will be followed by the qualifying rounds of the Australian Open in 2021, which is planned to be held in Dubai.
Last week, Steve Simon, head of the WTA, said the WTA plans to start the 2021 season with the Australian Open qualifying matches, which will be held in early January, and for the first time, it will happen outside Australia.
Thus, we can conclude the WTA and ATP were in close negotiations with the sports authorities in the UAE, working out all the fine details for both major competitions that will be held here.
According to the publication, from January 9 to 13 in Dubai it’s planned to hold the Australian Open qualification. However, spectators will, unfortunately, still not be able to attend competitions in the UAE.
Also, the source says that together with the qualifiers, charter flights to Melbourne will send top players who conduct pre-season training in Dubai. According to the preliminary plan, qualified athletes will travel on charter flights from Dubai to Melbourne for the mandatory quarantine period in anticipation of the opening of the season – the Grand Slam. However, people in the know asked players not to rejoice ahead of time. The real picture will become clearer only in the next couple of days after a virtual joint meeting of tennis club official representatives, which was scheduled for Sunday.
The WTA attempted to rebrand, which is why now high-level women’s professional competitions have been renamed the WTA Masters, WTA 500 and WTA 250 in close connection with the ATP Masters 1000, ATP 500 and ATP 250 naming structure.
According to the test schedule agreed for the Australian Open qualifying tournaments, at least 48 matches a day will be held on the ten courts of Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Stadium in Al Garhoud. By the end of the week, a total of 32 players will perform in the men’s and women’s categories at the main competitions in Melbourne.
Grand Slam qualifying rounds are usually a difficult competition in which up to 128 men’s and women’s players fight for a place in the main tournaments.
A Gulf News official representative gave a short interview the other day in which he shared his impressions of holding tournaments during the pandemic, as well as given some organizational details.
“There are quite a few top tennis players who have chosen Dubai for offseason training, and these players will join the qualifying rounds on special charter flights heading to Melbourne,”a representative said.
“The world has never been in such a situation before, so people have to think outside the box and introduce innovations, so that sports life continues in a normal mode, subject to all security standards established by international agencies and local authorities. Of course, none of these competitions – the Australian Open qualifying tournament in Dubai or the WTA 500 tournament in Abu Dhabi – will be open to spectators and the public,”he assured.
It should also be noted that on Friday the ATP tournament in Delray Beach posted a tweet with new dates (January 4-13), but later deleted the record.
The official announcement of the ATP calendar for the first quarter of the season is expected in the coming days. Let’s hope that the conditions for the competition in 2021 will be more favourable and the players will be able to show themselves on the court already in the presence of spectators.