Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, likely to be held with a limited audience this year, has been shifted from two weeks in February to March. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: The dates for the annual Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships have been confirmed with the two-week event, a key event in the city’s sporting and social calendar, now pushed to it’s its new time slot from March 8-20.

As per the initial calendar, the Dubai Tennis Championships were scheduled to be held from February 14-27 but with the postponement and re-scheduling of events due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation, the WTA and ATP have now worked out fresh dates.

Earlier this week, the WTA joined the men’s Tour in confirming a series of tournaments till The Championships in Wimbledon in the first half of July.

Having previously announced the first seven weeks of the season, this latest update covers the next 20 weeks of the 2021 season - from the ongoing inaugural Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open through to the Wimbledon in July.

The first four WTA 1,000 events of the year are also represented, including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Miami Open presented by Itaú, the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome).

The ATP had followed up its re-configured schedule for the first seven weeks earlier in December with a revised schedule for weeks 8 to 13 of the 2021 ATP Tour season as the sport continued its return during the pandemic.

As per the latest calendar, several early-season events have been scheduled after the Australian Open, including the European Indoor, Latin American and Middle East swings – including Doha and Dubai - that lead into the Miami Open in the final two weeks of March.

For the time-being, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is not being held in its customary dates in March and the ATP is assessing alternative dates for the tournament to potentially take place later in the season.

As per the WTA Tour, further updates to the calendar will be announced in due course, including the second edition of the year-end Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen.

In last year’s finals, Simona Halep defeated Elena Rybakina in three tough sets for her second crown in Dubai, while Novak Djokovic maintained his winning momentum for the season with a straight sets win over Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas for the men’s title.