The WTA is planning to start the 2021 season in the first week of January outside Australia before the players travel to Melbourne for quarantine ahead of the Grand Slam, women's tour chief Steve Simon told Reuters. The Australian Open looks likely to be pushed back from its scheduled Jan. 18 start as Tennis Australia (TA) continue talks with local government over COVID-19 protocols to be established for Melbourne Park. Negotiations over when the players arrive in Australia and what they will be allowed to do during their 14 days of quarantine have dragged out over the last few weeks but Simon was confident the tournament would go ahead.
Tennis Australia is awaiting confirmation from the Victorian state government on its plans for the Aussie Open amid reports that it won't not start until Feb. 8.
A fit Andy Murray could still be competitive against top players and tennis fans should consider themselves lucky still to be able to see the three-time Grand Slam champion in action, the Briton's former coach Daniel Vallverdu has told Reuters. Venezuelan Vallverdu currently coaches three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka who crushed former world number one Murray 6-1 6-3 6-2 in the opening round of this year's French Open. It was Murray's joint-worst loss at a Grand Slam and came on his return to the claycourts at Roland Garros after a three-year absence, during which he has had two major hip surgeries.