So what is the “is it or not?” One question remains for No.1 Novak Djokovic and his participation in the Australian Open, the rest of the tennis world is getting back to work this week to prepare for the first big of the season which kicks off on January 17 at Melbourne Park.
The men’s ATP Cup team event has been underway since the weekend in Sydney, and three tune-up events are taking place this week in Melbourne as part of Tennis Australia’s “Summer Set” – two WTA tournaments and an ATP.
In Adelaide, there is a joint ATP and WTA tournament this week. Next week, Adelaide and Sydney will host joint ATP-WTA tournaments.
Djokovic is still nowhere to be found.
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Australian Open general manager Craig Tiley said there was “a lot to play” before nine-time champion Djokovic showed up to play in Australia.
The top-ranked player has consistently refused to reveal whether he is vaccinated against COVID-19, a requirement to play in Melbourne. But there has been speculation that Djokovic could seek a medical exemption to play as he aims for a record 21st Grand Slam singles title. He is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20.
Djokovic withdrew from the Serbian ATP Cup squad last week.
“We still have a few charter flights coming up until the end of this week and then all the players will be there,” Tiley said. “As far as Novak’s status goes, I think we’ll have a much clearer picture in the next few days, otherwise it’s getting quite late to show up and play the Australian Open. There’s quite a bit of stuff going on. to play and I think it will play 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 seed of the ATP event at Melbourne Park. Second seed Reilly Opelka, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov also compete in the ATP tournament.
In Adelaide, the top ranked Wimbledon champion Ash Barty is the headliner, joined by Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka. Gael Monfils is the No.1 seed in the Adelaide ATP tournament, while Karen Khachanov is the second seed.
At the WTA event in Adelaide on Monday, third seed Maria Sakkari defeated Tamara Zidansek 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 in the tournament’s first round of 32 draws.
Barty, who has a first-round pass, hasn’t played a tournament since his third loss at the US Open in early September.
“Over the next few weeks I will have to be patient with myself, it has been a while since I played a competitive game,” Barty said on Monday. “But I feel good. I feel ready. Now it’s just a matter of going out and enjoying it.”
US Open champion Emma Raducanu withdrew from the Melbourne tournament, just emerging from isolation 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 play at the Australian Open.
Federer is still recovering from surgery on his right knee.
Serena Williams’ Grand Slam title drought will officially reach five years after the 23-time major champion announced her withdrawal from the Australian Open last month due to a hamstring injury. This means she will miss another chance to equal Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record.
Williams’ 23rd major singles title – and most recent – arrived at the Australian Open in 2017.
And for the first time since 1997, no Williams sister will be in action at Melbourne Park. Venus Williams, 41, has not played since August due to a leg injury.