Dubai: The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has confirmed that it will go ahead with the hosting of the brand-new WTA-500 tournament in Abu Dhabi followed by the qualifiers for the 2021 Australian Open to open the new season in early January.
The WTA announced a schedule for the first seven weeks of the 2021 Tour calendar where the governing body for women’s tennis has worked closely with tournaments and players to provide as many job opportunities as possible - while being mindful of increased travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine guidelines set forth by local governments.
For the first time, the inaugural Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open will be held at the Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre from January 5-13.
“We are delighted to welcome to Abu Dhabi WTA’s 2021 kick-off event, the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open. Abu Dhabi is a global capital of world sport and the presence of top tennis players from around the world at this time only strengthens that position and reinforces our esteemed reputation
The Australian Open qualifying for women will take place at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium in Al Garhoud from January 10-13. The plan after that is that players from both events will then travel to Melbourne to follow the mandatory two-week quarantine period prior to the start of the 2021 Australian Open.
After the quarantine period, two WTA 500 tournaments will be held concurrently in Melbourne Park from January 31 to February 7, after which the Australian Open will take place at the same venue starting from February 8.
Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, was pleased that women’s tennis players will be able to get at least uninterrupted three weeks of competitive tennis. “We are excited to announce the first swing of tournaments representing the opening weeks of the 2021 WTA season, all of which will operate in an environment that puts health and safety at the forefront. We want to express our sincere appreciation for the cooperation between key tennis stakeholders and organisations, along with the local health authorities who have been vital in getting us to this point,” Simon told the WTA’s official website.
“The hard work will continue as we look further ahead into 2021 to ensure a safe and robust calendar,” he promised.
As per the initial plan, due to travel restrictions and the mandatory quarantine, WTA 250 tournaments scheduled for Auckland and Shenzhen will not be held in 2021 but have been pencilled in for a return on the WTA Tour calendar in 2022.
Simon also vouched that the WTA will continue to closely monitor the evolving status of tournaments for the remainder of next year with an announcement in the coming weeks for a more expansive calendar.
Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), under whose patronage the season-opening WTA event is being organised, was proud to play a role in the restart of women’s tennis. “We are delighted to welcome to Abu Dhabi WTA’s 2021 kick-off event, the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open. Abu Dhabi is a global capital of world sport and the presence of top tennis players from around the world at this time only strengthens that position and reinforces our esteemed reputation,” he added.