Everything appears not to quite be finalized yet, but Adelaide is back in the game.
And the WTA and ATP players are expected to have plenty of playing opportunities in the quick two weeks before the start of the 2022 Australian Open.
Open Court has learned that in addition to the announcement that the charming venue in Adelaide will host men’s and women’s events during both weeks, there will be additional tournaments at Melbourne Park and in Sydney, along other women’s ITF and Challenger tournaments.
The information has already been shared with the players. You would expect an official announcement on the schedule to be made in the coming days.
Women in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne
The first week of the Aussie summer begins Jan. 3, with a WTA 500 tournament in Adelaide and two 250 tournaments at Melbourne Park.
In all, that’s 94 main-draw spots, 72 in qualifying, and 48 doubles teams.
In addition, Bendigo and Traralgon will host $60K ITFs. That means another 64 main draw spots, 64 in qualifying and 32 doubles teams.
The second week – while the qualifying is going on at Melbourne Park – will feature another women’s tournament in Adelaide. This one will be a 250.
In addition to that, there is another WTA 500 scheduled for Sydney. That works out to a total of 62 main draw and 48 qualifying spots for singles in Week 2.
Men also in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne
Three different cities will host men’s events – at least in the first week.
Concurrent with the women’s 500 in Adelaide, an ATP 250 with a 28 main draw – but a 24-team doubles draw – will take place the first week.
There will be another 28-draw men’s 250 at Melbourne Park, also with 24 doubles teams.
As well, the 16-team ATP Cup competition will return to Sydney (as we Tweeted last week). The main Sydney site is expected to be Olympic Park – Ken Rosewall Arena. The Qudos Bank Arena, at the other end of the Olympic Park site, also should have matches.
The Sydney location, though, is “subject to final confirmation”.
The men also wil have ATP 80 Challengers in Bendigo and Traralgon, current with the women’s. Both will have 48-player main draws and 16-player qualifying.
In all, that’s 152 main draw spots and 64 in qualifying the first week – not counting the players taking part in the ATP Cup.
Week 2 will have have similar ATP 250s in Adelaide and Sydney, concurrently with the women (Again, the Sydney location is subject to final confirmation).
Juniors and Wheelchair tennis
The wheelchair players will have an event the first week at the Hume Tennis Centre in Craigieburn (north of Melbourne). There will be a 24-player men’s draw and a 16-player women’s draw.
There will be another event at the same venue the second week, with a 32-draw for the men and 24 for the women.
And then, the main event in Melbourne, which begins Jan. 23.
And good news for the juniors: the junior Australian Open will be back, as well as the J1 tuneup event in Traralgon. The warnup takes place from Jan. 14 – 19. And so it runs into the first week of the Australian Open but starts a little earlier than usual.
The qualifying also will take place in Traralgon.
The AO Junior Championships run from Jan. 22 – 29.
Interstate and international travel not so simple
It is much better than it was in January. Still, it’s not exactly a piece of cake to travel to Australia – and it’s not even simple to travel between Australian states.
All of the planned Tennis Australia charters Down Under are scheduled to fly into Melbourne. And even those who are planning to fly commercial likely would also have planned for that.
But most of the players will quickly be headed somewhere else, with the varied schedule set out above.
In South Australia (where Adelaide is located), interstate travel fully reopened only on Tuesday.
But depending on which state – or what area of which state you’re coming from – it’s not as easy as just hopping on a short flight. And that’s true even if you are fully vaccinated, as all players will be required to be.
Those who are starting their season in Adelaide might have to consider not flying directly there. The South Australian website indicates that international travellers not only have to quarantine for seven days, they’re also not allowed to attend what are called “Covid-Managed Events”.
That category includes any event that will welcome 1,000 people or more. Which obviously includes the tennis tournaments.
There’s an app to download, and a daily health check to fill out.
Restrictions likely to slowly ease
The South Australian government considers Melbourne a “Level 3 – Moderate Risk” area.
So while the tennis folks arriving in Melbourne will not have to quarantine upon arrival – as they did in 2021 to varying degrees – there will be logistics to navigate if they arrive there – and then head to Adelaide.
Those restrictions are expected to be waived once 90 per cent of people aged 12 and older in South Australia are fully vaccinated. According to the latest statistics, they are at 78 per cent – much lower than the state of Victoria.
Victoria is currently very, very close to 90 per cent.
Meanwhile, the state of New South Wales, which includes Sydney, has few to no restrictions to arriving travellers – except if the traveller has been in a “high-risk” area over the previous 14 days.
So, in short, everyone planning to head to Australia and fan out is going to have to pay attention to the finer details.
But the takeaway is that the situation is far more normal than in 2021. And that tennis fans in Australia – with the notable exception of Brisbane – will get to see live tennis again.