January 24, 2021

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Miami

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Now that the first two months of the ATP’s 2021 season are set – pandemic willing – the post-AO swings through Europe and South America also appear confirmed.

The ATP has published its next tranche of tournaments, which includes an indoor European swing and a Rio-less clay-court tour in South America.

And the Miami Open, from March 22 to April 4, is a go.

But it will go it alone as the other half of the Sunshine Double at Indian Wells is officially postponed.

Where? The location still might be in doubt.

But overall, except for the players’ favorite in the desert, it all flows quite well. Especially the last-minute nature of the whole thing.

Week of Feb. 22

Montpellier, France and Cordoba, Argentina are on the docket. Although Tennis Australia has aspirationally floated they hope to have more tournaments Down Under after the Australian Open is over.

Week of March 1

The indoor European circuit continues in Rotterdam, which is a 500 event. Could that be where Roger Federer, who will not head Down Under, makes his comeback?

As well, a 250-level tournament in Buenos Aires will take place.

Week of March 8

There will be three tournaments that week, which normally would have been when the BNP Paribas Open was to take begin at Indian Wells.

Marseille will compete the European tour. Santiago, Chile will complete the South American swing. And the men will return to Doha, site of their Australian Open qualifying, for a regular Tour event that normally takes place in early January.

Week of March 15

The two competing “500s” – Dubai and Acapulco – will again compete, but a few weeks later than usual on the schedule.

Indian Wells looking for late-season dates

Here’s the stadium from the BNP Paribas Open

“The tournament is proactively working with the ATP and WTA Tours as well as title sponsor BNP Paribas to confirm dates later in the year to hold the event. Details will be released in the near future as plans are finalized.

“This decision was made after thorough consultation with state and local health authorities and tournament owner Larry Ellison.”

To say the least, the situation in the California desert (along with the rest of the state) in terms of the coronavirus is pretty dire at the moment.

We’re hearing rumbles about the possibility of a … date very late in the season. Perhaps dovetailing with another pretty big event, to make for a three-plus week stay in the desert.

Stay tuned.

And what of Miami?

Hopefully the Miami Open, which will now stand alone and no longer be part of the U.S. “Sunshine Swing”, will finalize its plans soon.

But Open Court has learned that the tournament has actively been looking to relocate for 2021.

And that location would be the new early-2021 tennis hub, the Middle East.

Specifically: Abu Dhabi.

Miami
If the Miami Open stays put in 2021, it won’t have the “stadium within-a-stadium” inside Hard Rock Stadium for the tournament.

Abu Dhabi normally has a six-man exhibition event in early January, cancelled for this year. Instead, it will have a 500-level WTA women’s event the first week of January.

As it turns out, it wouldn’t be an inconvenient location at all, as it would follow after Doha and Dubai. (Well, perhaps less convenient for those in Acapulco. But fair’s fair; player who competed in Dubai in previous years had a long trek to Indian Wells from there).

If Miami does stay put for 2021, we’re told that they will not build the very expensive stadium court inside the football stadium. Instead, the main court will be out on the grounds.

Given it’s highly unlikely they will be able to welcome a full house of fans – even in Covid-oblivious Florida – there’s little purpose in having a stadium that had a capacity of 13,800 in its debut in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Estoril Open has put its 2021 dates out there. The tournament in Portugal, which was cancelled in 2020, is typically held early in the spring clay-court season leading up to Roland Garros.

No word yet on the WTA. But none of the tournaments until the Miami Open are joint events, so it can do its own thing.