The Australian Open made it official Friday evening in the U.S. by confirming a February 8 start date.
The tournament will hold events in singles, doubles and wheelchairs with qualifying in the middle east and juniors postponed until later in the year.
Players are expected to arrive January 15 to will allow for a mandatory 14-day quarantine during which they will have access to court practice, training and more.
Players making the journey will be rewarded with a purse of $80M AUD. First round losers will receive a Grand Slam opening round record payout of $100K AUD.
Players will also have the luxury of competing and earning more money on-site in lead-up events the week before the season’s first Slam. And the WTA will run a tournament the second week of the Australian for those who lost early.
“This will be an historic Australian Open on so many levels,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“For the first time in more than 100 years the Australian Open will start in February and we look forward to offering the players what we believe will be one of their best playing experiences in 2021.
“From the outset, ensuring players have the best possible preparation for the Australian Open, while at all times protecting the precious COVID-free environment that the Victorian community has built through incredible sacrifice and hard work over the past six months, has been paramount.
“It has taken eight months of working alongside government authorities, here in Victoria, nationally and interstate, to give us the opportunity to present an Australian Open that will play a major role in both the economic and psychological reinvigoration and rejuvenation of Melbourne and Victoria.”
The city of Melbourne has also locked up the Australian Open for another 19 years until 2039.
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