Abu Dhabi to host first event of the 2021 WTA calendar

Stars will play in UAE before heading to Australian Open

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24:  Sofia Kenin of the United States celebrates after winning a point in her third round match against Shuai Zhang of China on day five of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Abu Dhabi will host the start of the WTA’s 2021 Tour calendar with the Women’s Tennis Open at Zayed Sports City from January 5-13.

The Australian Open qualifier takes place in Dubai from January 9-13, with both events then allowing for travel to Melbourne from one of Tennis Australia’s designated charter flight hubs of Dubai.

At the end of the two competitions, the players and their support teams will head to Australia where they will complete the mandatory two-week quarantine for the two WTA 500 tournaments held in Melbourne Park from January 31-February 7. The 2021 Australian Open is slated from February 8-21.

“We are delighted to welcome to Abu Dhabi WTA’s 2021 kick-off event, the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open,” Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said.

“Abu Dhabi is a global capital of world sport and the presence of top tennis players from around the world at this time only strengthens that position and reinforces our esteemed reputation.”

A WTA 250 will be held the second week of the Australian Open, allowing athletes to remain in Melbourne, securing three weeks of competition.

“We are excited to announce the first swing of tournaments representing the opening weeks of the 2021 WTA season, all of which will operate in an environment that puts health and safety at the forefront,” Steve Simon, WTA chairman and CEO, said.

“We want to express our sincere appreciation for the co-operation between key tennis stakeholders and organisations, along with the local health authorities who have been vital in getting us to this point.

“The hard work will continue as we look further ahead into 2021 to ensure a safe and robust calendar.”

According to Stone, WTA 250 tournaments in Auckland and Shenzhen will not be held in 2021 but are scheduled to return to the WTA Tour calendar in 2022.

The WTA will continue to monitor the evolving status of tournaments for the remainder of 2021 with an announcement in the coming weeks surrounding a more expansive calendar.