With the exact dates of the Australian Open still uncertain, the WTA has been scratching around for emergency playing opportunities to fill in the early weeks of next year.

Best reports – none of them official – indicate the usual mid-January start of the season’s opening Grand Slam will be pushed back three weeks to February 8.

Beside being guaranteed to throw another season’s scheduling into complete chaos, the move would also leave a few spare weeks between the obligatory Melbourne COVID-19 player quarantine days starting in mid-January and the start of the reduced-form major itself.

As a result, the WTA needs to try and fill the empty weeks with income-earning opportunities for competitors.

WTA boss Steve Simon told Reuters from Florida that hasty plans are in the works.

“The Australian Open, we’re expecting it to happen,” he said . 

WTA CEO Steve Simon ©BNP

“Obviously the Australian Open will come with a quarantine period to enter Australia so it does create challenges around the month of January.

“We’re looking right now at hopefully close to finalising in the next week or so the ability to stage some events in the week of Jan. 4 to start the year.”

Final details about playing the Open in a tough bio-security bubble are still being hammered out, with the Victoria State government apparently yielding little to the tennis side.

Only with political approval can the major be held – and that key decision is now in the hands of local bureaucratic paper-pushers.

Australia has been all but completely shut down, with no international travel allowed inbound or outbound for nearly half a year.

The government has already knocked back various plans to stage the event and is now insisting that just 1,000 people from the tennis community will be allowed past the border.

That looks like putting the doubles and mixed doubles draws in serious danger of being cancelled.

As is most things political, no information on a decision has been forthcoming as the days tick away.

Tour tennis normally starts in the New Year period, with most players arriving in the southern hemisphere around Christmas or earlier.

2021 has been completely turned on its head with WTA events in Brisbane, Shenzhen and Auckland now off the table, along with the multi-city ATP Cup for men.

With the exact dates of the Australian Open still uncertain, the WTA has been scratching around for emergency playing opportunities to fill in the early weeks of next year.

Best reports – none of them official – indicate the usual mid-January start of the season’s opening Grand Slam will be pushed back three weeks to February 8.

Beside being guaranteed to throw another season’s scheduling into complete chaos, the move would also leave a few spare weeks between the obligatory Melbourne COVID-19 player quarantine days starting in mid-January and the start of the reduced-form major itself.

As a result, the WTA needs to try and fill the empty weeks with income-earning opportunities for competitors.

WTA boss Steve Simon told Reuters from Florida that hasty plans are in the works.

“The Australian Open, we’re expecting it to happen,” he said . 

“Obviously the Australian Open will come with a quarantine period to enter Australia so it does create challenges around the month of January.

“We’re looking right now at hopefully close to finalising in the next week or so the ability to stage some events in the week of Jan. 4 to start the year.”

Final details about playing the Open in a tough bio-security bubble are still being hammered out, with the Victoria State government apparently yielding little to the tennis side.

Only with political approval can the major be held – and that key decision is now in the hands of local bureaucratic paper-pushers.

Australia has been all but completely shut down, with no international travel allowed inbound or outbound for nearly half a year.

The government has already knocked back various plans to stage the event and is now insisting that just 1,000 people from the tennis community will be allowed past the border.

That looks like putting the doubles and mixed doubles draws in serious danger of being cancelled.

As is most things political, no information on a decision has been forthcoming as the days tick away.

Tour tennis normally starts in the New Year period, with most players arriving in the southern hemisphere around Christmas or earlier.

2021 has been completely turned on its head with WTA events in Brisbane, Shenzhen and Auckland now off the table, along with the multi-city ATP Cup for men.

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