Australian Open Qualifying Heads To The Middle East As Player Field Is Revelled - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open Qualifying Heads To The Middle East As Player Field Is Revelled

The upcoming event will be a historic one for tennis.

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For the first time in Australian Open history the qualifying tournament for the ‘Happy Slam’ will not be held in the country.

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine process those arriving in Australia have to go through, officials have sought the help of two other countries to stage their events. The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha will be home to the men’s tournament. First opened in 1992, the venue usually holds the Qatar Open (ATP 250) which will not be taking place in 2021.

It’s our pleasure to have the opportunity of hosting the qualifying rounds of the 2021 Australian Open, and we are glad to welcome all the participating players to Doha. We promise them an exceptional experience which will live up to Qatar’s globally recognised reputation as a major destination for world sports,” Karim Alami from the Qatari Tennis Federation said in a statement.
“Selecting Doha to host the 2021 Australian Open qualifiers due to coronavirus pandemic reflects the global trust in Qatar’s abilities, and we are not going to leave any stoned unturned in organising a world-class event,” he added.

Among those set to participate in the 128-player draw will be Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz who was recently named ATP Newcomer of the Year after winning three Challenger titles before his 18th birthday. Other youngsters set to play include Lorenzo Musetti and Sebastian Korda.

Also on the entry list are former top 20 players Ivo Karlovic, Ernests Gulbis and Viktor Troicki. There is a strong chance that this could be Troicki’s last time trying to qualify for the Grand Slam after being appointed the Davis Cup captain of Serbia.

“We are very grateful to our friends in Qatar for hosting the Australian Open 2021 men’s qualifying event in Doha,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“Staging the AO qualifying event, and providing players with the opportunity to both earn prize money and win the chance to play Grand Slam tennis during this difficult time has been a key objective in all our planning.”

A full list of entrants is yet to be published by the organisers.

UAE for the women

As for the WTA players seeking a route into the Grand Slam main draw, they will be playing their qualifying rounds at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and Complex in Dubai. As is currently stands all 16 seeds will be ranked in the world’s top 125.

Heading the field will be Spain’s Aliona Bolsova who is yet to play in the main draw of the Australian Open. Kaja Juvan, Oceane Dodin and Greet Minnen are the highest ranked players after Bolsova.

Also taking part will be a former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard and 2019 US Open semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova. Timea Babos, Sara Errani and Timea Babos will also be playing.

“Tennis players are a regular here, both for training and time off, and they know what Dubai has to offer. We are sure they will be looking forward to the qualifying tournament here and giving off their best in a totally safe environment, with all the necessary COVID-19 precautions and protocols in place,” the Dubai Sports Council said in a statement.

Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place between January 10-13. A total of 16 main draw spots is up for grabs.

Women’s qualifying entry list   
RankingFirst NameLast NameNation
103AlionaBolsovaESP
104KajaJuvanSLO
107OceaneDodinFRA
110GreetMinnenBEL
111Anna-LenaFriedsamGER
113KatarzynaKawaPOL
114AnnaKalinskayaRUS
115TimeaBabosHUN
116StefanieVoegeleSUI
118KatarinaZavatskaUKR
119IrinaBaraROU
120TerezaMartincovaCZE
121CatherineMcNallyUSA
122YsalineBonaventureBEL
124VitaliaDiatchenkoRUS
125MargaritaGasparyanRUS
127LiudmilaSamsonovaRUS
128MayarSherifEGY
131SaraErraniITA
132ElisabettaCocciarettoITA
133CatherineBellisUSA
134OlgaGovortsovaBLR
135Anna KarolinaSchmiedlovaSVK
136TsvetanaPironkovaBUL
137MihaelaBuzarnescuROU
138ViktorijaGolubicSUI
139ViktoriyaTomovaBUL
141EugenieBouchardCAN
142RenataZarazuaMEX
143FrancescaDi LorenzoUSA
144MonicaNiculescuROU
145NataliaVikhlyantsevaRUS
146LesiaTsurenkoUKR
147KristinaKucovaSVK
149BarbaraHaasAUT
150HarrietDartGBR
151CarolineDolehideUSA
152ClaraTausonDEN
153XinyuWangCHN
154Usue MaitaneArconadaUSA
155KamillaRakhimovaRUS
156MagdalenaFrechPOL
157LeonieKungSUI
158SachiaVickeryUSA
158 SRKimberlyBirrellAUS
159Elena-GabrielaRuseROU
160KurumiNaraJPN
161WhitneyOsuigweUSA
162CristinaBucsaESP
163AnhelinaKalininaUKR
165LaraArruabarrenaESP
167GiuliaGatto-MonticoneITA
168JaquelineCristianROU
171 SRRebeccaMarinoCAN
175VeronicaCepede RoygPAR
176LesleyPattinama KerkhoveNED
177AllieKiickUSA
178CaglaBuyukakcayTUR
179AntoniaLottnerGER
180AnkitaRainaIND
181VarvaraLepchenkoUSA
182MayoHibiJPN
183OlgaDanilovicSRB
184YukiNaitoJPN
185XiaodiYouCHN
186Maria CamilaOsorio SerranoCOL
187ChloePaquetFRA
189MartinaDi GiuseppeITA
190GeorginaGarcia PerezESP
191NatalijaKosticSRB
192MariamBolkvadzeGEO
193Laura IoanaPaarROU
195SamanthaMurray SharanGBR
196MarinaMelnikovaRUS
197IndyDe VroomeNED
198AsiaMuhammadUSA
199BibianeSchoofsNED
200Jia-JingLuCHN
201RobinAndersonUSA
202IsabellaShinikovaBUL
203RebeccaSramkovaSVK
204Na-LaeHanKOR
205GabrielaTalabaROU
206Reka-LucaJaniHUN
207XinyunHanCHN
208DanielaSeguelCHI
208 SRKarmanThandiIND
209JanaFettCRO
210ElitsaKostovaBUL
211ChihiroMuramatsuJPN
212PemraOzgenTUR
213RichelHogenkampNED
216AnastasiyaKomardinaRUS
217EkaterineGorgodzeGEO
218ClaireLiuUSA
219DanielleLaoUSA
220DalmaGalfiHUN
221DariaSnigurUKR
222MajaChwalinskaPOL
223En-ShuoLiangTPE
223 SRNaikthaBainsGBR
224EvaGuerrero AlvarezESP
225ValeriaSavinykhRUS
226JuliaGrabherAUT
227VictoriaKanRUS
229YueYuanCHN
230TerezaMrdezaCRO
231AleksandraKrunicSRB
232HaileyBaptisteUSA
233NuriaParrizas DiazESP
234HarmonyTanFRA
235EllenPerezAUS
236ClaraBurelFRA
237MarieBenoitBEL
238KyokaOkamuraJPN
239GabrielaCeBRA
240JovanaJovicSRB
241FrancescaJonesGBR
243DalilaJakupovicSLO

Grand Slam

French Open Make Changes To Tournament Schedule

One draw is getting bigger but another has been cut by 50%!

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The French Tennis Federation (FFT) is increasing the number of players participating in this year’s French Open qualifying tournament in order to help provide financial support to more on the Tour.

 

From 2021 the clay court Grand Slam will welcome 128 players to the qualifying event which is the same number of players participating in the main draw. This is a 33% increase in the usual number of participants which is 96. The event is scheduled to take place over four days between May 24-28 but will be held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic like last year. However, organisers are still hopeful they will still be able to open the main draw up to the public.

“This decision will also allow the tournament to support a category of players who have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 crisis, financially-speaking,” a statement reads.

Last year’s French Open offered 10,000 euros to players who lost in the first round of qualifying. Players who qualified and reached the main draw were guaranteed to take home at least 60,000 euros. The prize money breakdown of this year’s tournament is still to be confirmed.

Another change being made concerns the Mixed Doubles event, which wasn’t held at Roland Garros in 2020. The draw will be making a comeback but with a 50% reduction in its field size. Just 16 teams will be playing in the draw compared to the usual 32. Meaning this year’s Mixed Doubles champions will only have to win four matches en route to the title.

This year’s French Open has already been pushed back by a week due to the pandemic with officials hoping the extra delay will maximise their chances of welcoming fans to the event. Although world No.2 Daniil Medvedev recently questioned the decision and if it would make any difference.

“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros,” said FFT President Gilles Moreton.
“For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the spring’s most important international sporting event.”

The French Open main draw is set to start on May 30th. Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek are the defending champions.

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Grand Slam

REPORT: French Open Night Sessions Could Be Exclusively For Men

There will be an equal number of men’s and women’s matches on the premier court but one source is claiming priority will be given to one gender when it comes to playing at night.

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Il campo Philippe Chatrier di Parigi

The upcoming French Open could be embodied in controversy after a leading media source reported that a deal is being struck to give the evening slot to only male players.

 

This year will be the first time in history the clay court major will implement a night session starting from 21:00 local time. It has been made possible following a series of upgrades to the venue, including the use of floodlights. The French Open is the third major to implement such a session after both the US Open and Australian Open.

Although a significant argument could break out concerning the tournament with accusations of sexism. RMC Sport has obtained some information about the event and claims a deal is set to be struck for only men’s matches to be played at night. It is alleged that the move is down to the Amazon who has exclusive rights to the 10 night sessions. The belief is that they want to focus more on the men at night in order to maximise their potential audience.

RMC reports that the ‘provisional programme’ for the French Open is that there will be an equal number of men’s and women’s matches on the prestigious Philippe Chatrier Court. However, when it comes to the end of the day it will be men only. There has been no formal confirmation from either Amazon or the French Tennis Federation (FFT) regarding the report.

The controversial claims comes amid speculation over the start date of the French Open after the country went into lockdown for the third time. Roxana Maracineanu, who is the French minister of sport, recently admitted that a delay is possible due to the pandemic.

“Discussions are underway with the organisers on the methods used, in particular for the reception of the public,” the ministry spokeswoman told AFP.
A delay of a few days is under discussion,” she added.

Both the ATP and WTA will be hoping that no delay occurs due to the impact it could have on their calendars. Should the Grand Slam take place a week later than expected, it will clash with four tournaments set to mark the start of the grass-court season. They are the ATP Stuttgart, ATP s-Hertogenbosch, WTA Nottingham and WTA ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

The French Open is critical for the FFT with it generating roughly 80% of their annual turnover, according to L’Equipe newspaper. Officials are hoping to hold the event in front of fans but this is subject to how the pandemic develops over the coming weeks. Last year the event was allowed to welcome no more than 1000 fans per day under government rules.

At present the French Open is set to begin on May 17th.

UPDATE: The FFT has since published a statement in which they have denied the report.

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French Open Start Date In Doubt Amid COVID-19 Crises

Will the French Open get underway next month or not?

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A member of the government has confirmed that it is possible that the French open could be delayed for a second year in a row as the country enters into a third national lockdown.

 

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu, who is a former Olympic swimmer herself, has told French radio that numerous options are on the table. Ranging from holding the event as currently planned to cancelling it all together. Last year the Grand Slam was moved to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic and took place with a reduced number of spectators allowed to attend.

“We are in discussion with them (the French Tennis Federation, which organises the event) to see if we should change the date to coincide with a possible resumption of all sports and major events,” Maracineanu told France Info radio.
“Today, although high-level sport has been preserved, we try to limit the risks of clusters, of spreading the virus within professional sports.”

Earlier in the week the head of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said the tournament was on track but admitted that it is possible that the situation could change in the coming weeks. During an interview with AFP, Gilles Moretton stated that any future decision depends on lockdown restrictions.

“At the moment we are on track, the tournament is on the scheduled dates,” said Moretton. “But if we are told a general confinement for two months, we will necessarily have to take measures—at worst, complete cancellation, but I dare not imagine that.

The French Open is currently set to start next month on May 23rd. However, uncertainty over the event coincides with a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. On Friday authorities said the number of seriously ill COVID patients in intensive care rose by 145 which is the biggest jump in five months. On the same day the country reported 46,677 new cases and 304 deaths.

In a bid to reduce the strain of the pandemic, a lockdown has been imposed on the country with all non-essential shops shut for four weeks and a curfew in place between 19:00 and 0600.  Most sporting events have been unaffected by the move so far with the only exception being cycling’s Paris-Roubaix one-day race which has been delayed.

Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek are the reigning champions at Roland Garros.

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