Australian Open 2021: Preview
When the Australian Open 2021 kick off on 8 February, the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne will be once again the centre of attention for tennis spectators around the world. The first showdown of the ATP Tour is eagerly awaited. As far as the British side is concerned, Cameron Norrie, who won against UK No 1 Dan Evans in their first round clash, and Johana Konta are the main contenders. Andy Murray withdrew due to a coronavirus infection. Kyle Edmund is suffering from a knee injury.
The names of the two finalists competing for the title of the 109th edition of the Australian Open 2021 on 21 February will also give an indication in which direction the season may unfold. Will Djokovic and Nadal continue to dominate the ATP Tour? Or is 2021 the year in which the next generation of tennis stars finally takes the helm at the top of the world?
A total of 80 million Australian Dollars will be paid out at the Australian Open 2021 (about 1,37 million Pound each for the winners of the singles). In addition to the men’s singles, the women’s singles, doubles and mixed competitions will be held.
Troubled times for the sport
Tennis is not necessarily experiencing its most peaceful phase these days. Debates about tournaments, quarantine regulations and players’ rights dominate the headlines. A single, correct path regarding the organization of the ATP Tour has still not been found. Already in 2020, the Grand Slams were held under special protective measures. Except for Wimbledon, many important tournaments took at least place at all.
The staging of the Australian Open in 2021 was also on the back burner for a long time. Now, however, the tournament is about to kick off, three weeks after the original date. It will be the biggest sporting event since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Australian Open 2021 overshadowed by pandemic
The participating players have been flown in on charter flights and will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine in selected hotels before the tournament begins. The original plan was for all players to be able to train for several hours a day. However, due to some positive covid cases, about 100 players are now in strict quarantine. This is an unpleasant state of affairs for many professionals, some of whom can hardly or not at all train and are merely stuck in their accommodation. Many athletes complain about unequal conditions.
Paradoxically, Australia is just coming out of a tough lockdown. Accordingly, complaints by players about the Corona regulations do not go down well with locals. They fear the tournament could cause a resurgence of cases. The Australian Tennis Federation spent up to 22 million pounds on the organization, security staff and about 10,000 corona tests. The organizer plans to admit spectators in limited numbers and under special protective measures.
Before the Australian Open, two ATP and WTA tournaments as well as the ATP Cup will be played at the same venue. You can follow the pre-Australian Open events in Melbourne with our TV guide.
The men’s field is set for one of the most exciting seasons in recent years. The top of the tennis elite seems to have moved closer together once again after Dominic Thiem’s US Open victory and Daniil Medvedev’s triumph at the ATP Nitto Finals.
The question that needs to be asked is whether anyone can topple Novak Djokovic, the dominator of recent years. The Serb has won seven of the last 10 editions in Melbourne, most recently two in a row. Roger Federer, who won in 2017 and 2018, is still struggling with his fitness condition and will not be at the first Grand Slam of the year.
Second favourite after Djokovic is Dominic Thiem. The Austrian won his first Grand Slam last year and has exuded tremendous confidence on court ever since. He beat Djokovic in three sets in the semi-finals of the ATP Nitto Finals.
Murray and Edmund out
Three-time Grand Slam Champions Andy Murray had to withdraw from the tournament. The 33-year-old was tested positive for the coronavirus just before his flight to Australia. Kyle Edmond is out, too. The British No 2 is still suffering from a long-lasting knee injury and was hence forced to delay his comeback.
Cameron Norrie will represent the British colours in Australia, after he has managed to beat Dan Evans in the first round. Norrie currently sits 69th in the ATP rankings (British No 3). His major Grand Slam achievement dates back to the last Grand Slam, when he reached the third round at the US Open.
Last year’s winner Sofia Kenin, perennial favourite Naomi Osaka from Japan and local hero and world number one Ashleigh Barty are among the favourites in the women’s singles.
British No 1 Johanna Konta is ranked as worlds’ number 14. Konta aims to tie in with her very best form from the 2016 season, when she reached the semi-finals in Melbourne.
Australian Open 2021 live on TV
Due to the time difference of 11 hours to the United Kingdom, most of the matches take place at night and in the morning. On each day of the first week, there will be a night and a day session.
From the quarter-finals onwards, the matches of the best players will be broadcasted at selected times during the night and in the morning. All details on the broadcast of the Australian Open 2021 as well as further information and facts can be found on our tournament page.