A third WTA 500 event in Melbourne has been added to the schedule for the week prior to the Australian Open, to give players the best possible preparation and training opportunities during the Australian swing.
The Grampians Trophy, for those players who have been unable to train during the 14-day quarantine lockdown, has now been added to the Melbourne Summer Series of events during February, and will take place from Wednesday, February 3 to Sunday, February 7. This event will have 28 main-draw singles players.
The Gippsland Trophy and the Yarra Valley Classic, the two events originally planned from Sunday, January 31 to Saturday, February 6, will go forward with slightly reduced draw sizes. Those events will now have 54 singles players in each main draw, as well as 28 doubles teams apiece.
Following extensive consultation between the players and the WTA and ATP Tours, Tennis Australia has designed a new schedule, taking into account the limited time many players have had to prepare.
“This has been a particularly challenging time for the athletes in hard lockdown and we, along with the WTA and ATP, aim to do everything we can to help,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“These changes to the lead-in events have been made to give the 72 players a little bit of extra time to help them prepare. We also will prioritize them for things like practice sessions, gym and ice baths.”
“This revised schedule comprised of three WTA 500 events in the week leading into the upcoming Australian Open will allow for our athletes coming out of the respected quarantine period to properly focus on their preparation in a return to competition,” WTA CEO Steve Simon said.
“We appreciate the positive spirit of collaboration demonstrated by our friends at Tennis Australia and the ATP as these solutions were worked through in recent days. All of our players appreciate the opportunity to be here in Melbourne and look forward to getting on the court to compete and entertain the terrific fans that are here with some great tennis over the weeks ahead in what will be a very safe and healthy environment.”