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Building on the ashes: the hard struggle to shape the ATP and WTA Tours

We are getting closer to the year 2021 and therefore a new tennis season. After a 2020 to forget, in the next year this sport will still have to face the consequences of the terrible COVID-19 pandemic that refuses to leave the world in peace. The ATP and the WTA have already made public the dates of the first tournaments in 2021, however, they will have to face serious difficulties in setting the rest of the calendar.

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It is now known that the 2021 ATP Tour will begin on 5th January with the Delray Beach Open. This tournament will take place in Florida until the 13th January and will be played simultaneously with the Antalya Open, which will be held in Turkey. Once these two ATP 250 tournaments come to an end, the 2021 Australian Open Qualifying will take place in Doha (Qatar) from 10th to 13th January.

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Some weeks later, the ATP 250 Melbourne 1 and the ATP 250 Melbourne 2 will take place. Yes, two different tournaments with two almost identical generic names, played at the same time (January 31 to February 6). A curious situation, even more so if we remember that Melbourne 1 will actually be played in Adelaide. From February 1st to 5th the ATP Cup will be played. On February 8th the Australian Open will start (finally) and will be played until February 21st.

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The WTA will also have to juggle to make their Tour. It will also start on 5th January with the Abu Dhabi Open. Women will also face the Australian Open Qualifying from 10th to 13th January, but they’ll play it in Dubai. Then (as well as the men) they will play two twin tournaments: WTA 500 Melbourne 1 and WTA 500 Melbourne 2. Then comes the Australian Open, those women who do not participate in the first Grand Slam of the season can do so in another tournament … also called “Melbourne”.

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Beyond all this, tennis will face serious challenges. Important tournaments such as Auckland Open and New York Open have been cancelled. Indian Wells is on the brink of the abyss because of the difficult situation in California. The Miami Open is also at risk. The tournaments in Montpellier, Rotterdam and Marseille would be delayed if the restrictions in France and the Netherlands are maintained.

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