January 16, 2021

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Melbourne

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The tournaments that will surround next month’s Australian Open have been given official names.

From “WTA 500” to “ATP 1-Adelaide” and “ATP 2”, the tournaments will be named for various regions of Australia, under the banner of the “Melbourne Summer Series”.

The aim is to “promote the reinvigoration of the state following the challenges faced due to both bushfires and the pandemic.”

Four of the five will be played the week before the Australian Open – the week of Feb. 1 – at the same time as the ATP Cup.

The women’s events will be named the Gippsland Trophy and the Yarra Valley Classic.

Both will have 64-player draws. And Tennis Australia outlined how the players – who all signed on to a single entry list – will be divided up.

The top 32 players will be split into the two events to determine 16 seeds. Beyond that, the Tennis Australia press release did not specify. Of the top 50 player in the world, 49 are signed on.

The actual tournament allocations won’t be don’t until after the qualifying in Dubai is completed.

How the players will be divided up

Open Court has been able to clarify how that will work.

*By ranking, the No. 1 will go into the first event and the No. 2 into the second. The remaining 14 will be paired up, with one going to one event and the other to the second event, at random to make up the 16 seeds in each event.

*After those 32 players, the remaining players accepted into the main draw will be assigned one of the two tournaments at random.

*After that, the highest-ranked 16 players will be split between the two qualifying events, in the same way as the main draw players were.

*The rest will be drawn at random to fill out the qualies draws. There will be two wild cards for both the main draw and the qualifying draw.

The same process will be complete for the doubles, although a player could end up playing singles in one event and doubles in the other.

Given everything will take place on the same courts, it’s a moot point.

Bertens the only top 50 players missing – so far

The only player missing out of the top 50 is Kiki Bertens.

Here’s the list.

The world No. 9 had entered the Australian events optimistically, after Achilles surge last fall. But in the end she wasn’t ready.

(With that withdrawal, Canadian Leylah Fernandez jumps into one of the main draws).

There will be an alternates list, with the following priority:

*The six qualifying lucky losers who will be allowed to travel Down Under.

*Any other singles or doubles ranked players who sign up on site, based on the Dec. 21, 2020 rankings.

Sounds like there might be a few doubles specialists in the draws.

Phillip Island will be attached to the women’s 250 event to be played during the second week of the Australian Open.

Melbourne
The Murray River, which rises in the Australian Alps, is the longest river in Australia at 1,558 miles.

Kyrgios, Auger-Aliassime lead the Murray River event

The men’s format was different. The players chose which of the two simultaneous ATP tournaments to enter with a first and second priority.

As it worked out, the “Murray River Open” looks to be the more intriguing draw.

That event will feature Nick Kyrgios, Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Dan Evans and Félix Auger-Aliassime.

The Great Ocean Road Open will have David Goffin, Kevin Anderson, Karen Khachanov, Reilly Opelka, Jannik Sinner and John Isner.

The qualifying and the main draws will both begin on Jan. 31.