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

ATP

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal To Quarantine In Adelaide Ahead Of Australian Open

The world’s best players are set to face off against each other in a new exhibition tournament at the end of this month.

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The highest ranked players in the world of tennis will travel to Adelaide instead of Melbourne to quarantine under a new deal announced by Tennis Australia.

 

Under the terms agreed with the Southern Australian Government, the three highest ranked players on both the ATP and WTA Tour’s will travel to the region. The decision has been made to help ease the pressure on Melbourne who are close to their capacity of holding 1000 players and their teams. Adelaide is set to quarantine around 50 people ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2021.

Under part of the deal, an exhibition tournament will take place in the region as part of an incentive for them agreeing to help. Should all of the top three players take part, the event would feature Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem on the men’s side. Meanwhile, the women’s field will feature home favourite Ash Barty, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka. The event will be played on January 29 and 30.

“We’re right up to the edge of people that can quarantine in Melbourne so we needed some relief,” Australian Open chief Craig Tiley told the Tennis Channel.
“We approached the South Australian government about the possibility of them quarantining at least 50 people, but they wouldn’t have any interest in doing it because there’s no benefit for them to do it to put their community at risk if the players then go straight to Melbourne.
“But it would be a benefit if they played an exhibition tournament just before they came to Melbourne, so the premier (Steven Marshall) has agreed to host 50 people in a quarantine bubble and then have those players play an exhibition event.”

The conditions of the Quarantine will be the same as it will be in Melbourne with players only allowed to leave their room in order to train during the 14-day period. Should anybody break protocol, they could face up to a AUS$20,000 fine, possible risk of criminal sanction and even deportation from the country.

“We think this is a great opportunity to launch before we go into the season. This a state and city who have just invested $44 million in building a new stadium. So this is a nice way to say thank you,” Tiley added.

Melbourne will still remain the primary location for tennis with the region hosting a series of events both before and after the Australian Open. On the men’s tour, the plan is to hold two 250 tournaments and the ATP Cup during the first week of February. Meanwhile, the WTA is set to stage two 500 events during the week starting January 31st and then a 250 tournament immediately after the Australian Open.

Speaking about Melbourne Park, Tiley is hopeful that between 50% and 75% of its usual capacity will be used by fans. To put that into perspective, last year the US Open was played behind closed doors and the French Open significantly reduced their capacity due to the pandemic.

The Australian Open will start on February 8th.

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Australian Open Axes Hotel Quarantine Contract Following Legal Threat

The decision comes after residents voiced concern that international tennis players pose a potential health risk to them.

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Tennis Australia has been forced to relocate one of their player accommodation venues after residents threatened to take the government to court.

 

Earlier this week a group of penthouse owners at the Westin Hotel in Melbourne confirmed that they were contemplating legal action, arguing that international players posed a health risk to them. The group also claims that they have been given insufficient information about the arrangements which has been disputed by the local government.

Despite assurances by officials that the residents would not be interacting with the players due to part of the hotel being sealed off, it has been decided to no longer use the Westin. It is unclear as to how many players would have been staying at the venue.

“The Australian Open team has been working closely with COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) on suitable quarantine hotel options in Melbourne. Several hotels in Melbourne have already been secured, including a replacement for the Westin, to safely accommodate the international playing group and their team members as well as allow for them to properly prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year. The health and safety of everyone is our top priority,” a statement from Tennis Australia reads.

Lisa Neville, who is the country’s minister of police, said the decision to change venue has been taken in order to prevent the risk of the Melbourne major being delayed once again. Ms Neville said she was first made aware of the concerns on Sunday.

We became aware on Sunday that there were some concerns that had been expressed by the residents in the apartments,” she said.
“We were also concerned this may delay the standing up of the Australian Open so we’ve gone through a process of securing a new site.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players arriving in the country must quarantine for 14 days before they are allowed to play professional events. Although they are allowed to train during this period. As a result, the Australian Open will be taking place during February for the first time in more than 100 years.

According to abc.net.au, the government will publish a list of hotels that will be used for quarantine next week. Players are set to start arriving in Australia from January 14th.

The Australian Open will start on February 8th.

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Australian Open Facing Legal Action Over Quarantine Plans

Less than two weeks before players are set to enter a mandatory quarantine, residents at one hotel are considering taking Tennis Australia to court.

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The Australian Open is facing a new crisis with a group of apartment owners launching a legal case to not allow players to stay at their premises.

 

Residents at the Westin Melbourne says they were given insufficient information about plans for players to stay at the Westin ahead of the Grand Slam and argue they pose a health risk to them. The venue has been chosen as one of the premises when players from around the globe will stay during a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the country. During the quarantine, they are not allowed to play professional tournaments but will be permitted to train. Players are set to start arriving in Melbourne from January 14th.

“At 84, I’m in the vulnerable group and it’s shocking the way they tried to ram this through without any attempt to consult with us,” owner Digby Lewis told Fairfax.
“I’m more than happy to toss in $10,000 or $20,000 to help the legal fight, it’s bloody shocking.”

According to The Age newspaper, the legal action is being considered by the 36 owners of penthouse apartments in the hotel, including many who live there on a permanent basis. One of their plans of action could include trying to obtain a last-minute injection which would prevent players from arriving if the court agrees to issue one.

The Victorian government formally approved the quarantine plan on December 18th and apartment owners were then notified on December 23rd. Although they insist that they never agreed to the terms.

“It’s incredibly arrogant to ambush us this way as if it’s a done deal. There are substantive public health and legal issues that have not even been examined,” apartment owner Mark Nicholson told The Age and the SMH.

In a statement issued to Reuters news agency, a representative from The Westin hotel has insisted that residents will not be in contact with players throughout their stay. They will be using separate entrances and lifts into the venue in accordance with their ‘COVID safe’ guidelines.

Their floor will remain exclusive while there will be no reticulation of ventilation between the floors,” the statement outlines.

Jacinta Allan, who is the acting Premier of Melbourne state, has also tried to ease any concerns the residents have. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Allan said a ‘rigorous assessment’ was conducted before the hotel was approved to host international athletes.

“The Westin, like every venue, went through a rigorous assessment, very strict infection prevention measures have been put in place in all of the venues,” she said.
“The very clear advice is that arrangements have been put in place so there is no contact between the existing residents and the people staying associated with the Australian Open.
“There are separate entrances, there are separate floors, there are floor monitors on every floor, there is 24/7 Victoria Police presence associated with every venue.”

The development is the latest setback for Tennis Australia and their plans for the Grand Slam. Due to the pandemic the Australian Open has had to be delayed until February for the first time in more than 100 years. Officials originally hoped for players to arrive in the country from December before the government ruled against it.

The Australian Open will get underway on February 8th.

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