While the question remains as to whether or not Novak Djokovic will be at the Australian Open, the rest of the tennis world is getting back to work this week to prepare for the first major tournament of the season that kicks off on January 17 in Melbourne. .
The men’s team ATP Cup event runs from the weekend in Sydney, with three preparatory events taking place in Melbourne this week: two WTA tournaments and one ATP tournament.
In Adelaide, ATP and WTA are holding a joint tournament this week. Next week Adelaide and Sydney will host joint ATP-WTA tournaments.
Meanwhile, Djokovic remains untraceable.
Australian Open general manager Craig Tiley said there was “a lot of work to do” before nine-time champion Djokovic came to play in Australia.
The world No. 1 has always refused to reveal whether he is vaccinated against COVID-19, a requirement for playing in Melbourne. But it has been speculated that Djokovic could seek a medical exemption to play as he is aiming for a 21me Grand Slam singles title record. He is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 each.
Djokovic retired from the Serbian team for the ATP Cup last week.
“We still have some cards until the end of this week, and then all the players will be there,” Tiley said. As for Novak’s status, I think we’ll have a much clearer picture in the next few days, otherwise it’s getting late enough to show up and play the Australian Open. There are still several things to solve and I think they will be developed in the next few days. »
Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep will headline the WTA tournament in Melbourne this week, while Nadal, who is recovering from COVID-19, is the top seed at the ATP event. Second seed Reilly Opelka, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov also participate in this tournament.
In Adelaide, top-ranked Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty is the headliner, along with Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka. Gaël Monfils is the first seed of the Adelaide tournament, while Karen Khachanov is No. 2.
In the Adelaide tournament on Monday, third-seeded Maria Sakkari defeated Tamara Zidansek 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 in the first round and Ajla Tomljanovic defeated Heather Watson 6-4 7-6 (5) .
Barty, who is on a first-round bypass, has not participated in a tournament since his third-round loss at the US Open in early September.
“For the next several weeks, I’ll have to be patient with myself, it’s been a while since I’ve played a competitive game,” admitted Barty. But I feel good. I feel ready. Now it’s about getting out there and enjoying it. »
US Open champion Emma Raducanu withdrew from the Melbourne tournament, having completed her lockdown after testing positive for COVID-19.
Raducanu, who became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam tournament when she won at Flushing Meadows in September, withdrew from an Abu Dhabi tournament in late December after contracting the virus.
Two of the biggest names in tennis won’t be the Australian Open.
Federer is still recovering from surgery on his right knee.
And it will be officially five years this month since Serena Williams has not won a major title, as the 23-title Grand Slam champion announced last month that she will not compete at the Australian Open due to ‘a hamstring injury. hamstring ‘. Another chance to equal Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record will be missed.
She got her 23me Major singles title, and most recent, at the 2017 Australian Open.
And for the first time since 1997, no Williams sister will be at Melbourne Park. Venus Williams, 41, has not played since August due to a leg injury.