Dubai: The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (DDFTC) is most likely be postponed at least by a couple of weeks and head into March instead of its original post-Australian Open dates.
The ATP announced late on Wednesday that they have carried out an update to the 2021 ATP Tour calendar, outlining a revised schedule for the first seven weeks of the season as tennis continues to navigate its return.
Confirmed details of weeks 8 to 13 will be announced separately, while all subsequent sections of the 2021 calendar, beginning with the spring clay-court season from week 14, remain unchanged at this time as all tournaments are planned to take place as originally scheduled.
As per the initial calendar the two-week DDFTC was scheduled to kick off with the WTA tournament on February 14 and conclude with the ATP men’s final on February 27. The opening week of the 2021 season will kick off with the ATP 250 Delray Beach Open alongside a new single-year ATP 250 licence on hard court in Antalya, Turkey.
The Australian Open men’s qualifying will take place for the first time outside of Melbourne from January 10-13, in Doha, and the allocated dates of January 15-31 will then allow for travel along with a 14-day quarantine period for all players and support staff to Melbourne.
The controlled environment quarantine period will enable players to prepare ahead of the inaugural 12-team ATP Cup in Melbourne from February 1-5, that will be played alongside the relocated Adelaide International and an additional ATP 250 tournament from January 31 to February 6, all held in Melbourne itself.
The season-opening Australian Open will then follow from February 8-21 following which the ATP is expected to decide on the placement of tournaments on the tour in coordination with the WTA.
Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, explained the thinking behind the changes made to the schedule. “The reconfigured calendar for the start of the 2021 season represents a huge collaborative effort across tennis, under challenging circumstances. 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,” he said.
“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.”
Some of the ATP 250 events confirmed as not taking place in 2021 due to the pandemic include the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand and the New York Open, while the Tata Maharashtra Open in Pune will be unable to stage in its scheduled date in February.
In the meantime, the ATP has promised to continue to assess opportunities for additional single-year licenses to be scheduled in the first quarter of 2021 and will communicate any additions once confirmed.
Meanwhile, the ATP has also issued a five-week schedule for the launch of the 2021 Challenger Tour. Resuming on January 18, a total of ten tournaments in four countries will highlight the first section of the new season. The Challenger season will get under way with a Challenger 125 event in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul, as the city celebrates its 31st consecutive year on the Challenger Tour.
Turkey will host three consecutive tournaments to open the season, as the tour swings from the hard courts of Istanbul to the clay of the seaside town of Antalya. The week of January 25 will feature the first of back-to-back Challenger events in Antalya, along with an indoor hard-court stop in Quimper, France.