The 2021 WTA season will start in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 5, the governing body of women’s tennis said, as it unveiled an early-season calendar that revolves around the Australian Open.
The season will kick off with the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open, a WTA 500 level event (Jan. 5-13), while qualifying for the Australian Open will take place in Dubai (Jan.10-13).
Players and their support staff will then travel to Australia where they will complete the mandatory two-week COVID-19 quarantine period.
The Australian Open has already been delayed from its normal January slot and will take place from Feb. 8 to 21. In the build-up to the tournament in Melbourne, two WTA 500 tourneys will be held in Melbourne Park from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7.
WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said on Friday the early-season events “will operate in an environment that puts health and safety at the forefront”.
WTA 250 tourneys in Auckland and Shenzhen will not be held in 2021 due to travel restrictions but WTA said it hoped to restore them to calendar in 2022.