The Australian Open will go ahead from February 8-21, 2021, three weeks later than usual, the newly released men’s tour schedule has confirmed.
The confirmation from the Association of Tennis Professionals, the governing body of the men’s tour, follows weeks of speculation about the future of the 2021 event.
While the ATP runs only the men’s side of professional tennis, it has to be in sync with the Women’s Tennis Association and the International Tennis Federation around the four majors played every year.
The men’s schedule also features three warm-up events in Melbourne, including the relocated Adelaide International and the ATP Cup, which was played for the first time 2019.
Qualifying for the Australian Open will be held outside the country for the first time, with Doha, Qatar playing host from January 10-13.
That will give qualifiers time to travel to Australia and complete two weeks of quarantine before the warm-up events start on January 31.
The possibility that players would have to go straight from quarantine into the first major of the year was a sticking point with reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
It is not yet known what sort of field will turn up to Melbourne in 2021, with both the international slams played during the coronavirus pandemic featuring several high-profile absentees.
Wimbledon was called off in 2020= due to the pandemic, while the US Open and French Open were delayed, with the New York major played in empty stadiums in September.
“The reconfigured calendar for the start of the 2021 season represents a huge collaborative effort across tennis, under challenging circumstances,” ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in announcing the first seven weeks of the men’s season.
“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.
“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.”