Victoria will host the entire summer tennis calendar in 2021, after Tennis Australia confirmed it was relocating all events leading up to the Australian Open because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Events in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Perth and Adelaide will be relocated to Melbourne in 2021
- Players will enter a two-week isolation bubble when they arrive in Melbourne
- Tournaments could also be held in regional Victorian centres such as Bendigo and Traralgon
Events usually held in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Canberra will now be held in Melbourne, or at one of the major regional tennis centres in Bendigo or Traralgon.
Tennis Australia says it is yet to finalise quarantine arrangements, but it is expected players will begin to arrive in Melbourne in mid-December to enter a two-week isolation period before events begin.
Players would be confined to their hotels and tennis facilities until they have completed their quarantine period.
The Australian Open has been under a cloud since coronavirus forced the cancellation of major sporting events in Australia and across the world.
The second wave of COVID-19 that hit Melbourne also put the event in doubt, but Tennis Australia confirmed in September that the event would go ahead with a reduced number of fans in attendance.
A blow to tennis events interstate
The news has come as a surprise to some tournament organisers, with the director of the Hobart International, Darren Sturgess, saying he was only officially informed of the change last night.
However, he conceded that relocating all events to Melbourne was the right thing to do.
“Unfortunately it became a factor where we needed to advise players and they needed to travel from overseas as well,” he said.
“It’s four weeks before they need to jump on a plane, so it got to a point where there were some inconsistencies where [the Hobart International] wasn’t able to happen this year.”
Australian great John Fitzgerald is hopeful the calendar will return to normal in 2022, given the money spent establishing new tournaments, including the WTA event in Adelaide which was won by Ash Barty this year.
“Let’s hope it’s only for this year,” he said.
“The Adelaide event last year was really something special.”