2021 Auckland tournaments canceled; Australian Open releases its plans

2021 Auckland tournaments canceled; Australian Open releases its plans

Though the country currently has no local cases, tight restrictions are in effect on entry into New Zealand.

The WTA and ATP events in Auckland will not be played next season because of organizational difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced.

Though the country currently has no local cases, tight restrictions are in effect on entry into New Zealand.

"We thought we had a plan that was robust, but unfortunately there just not a pathway to a decision that we could have in the timeframes we needed and unfortunately that's led to the pretty tough environment that we're in today," said tournament director Karl Budge to local media. 

Among the issues was the two-week quarantine required for those coming into the country, for which the tournament had requested a reduction with monitoring instead. But that was not the only challenge.

"There's no sort of one-off area that we met or didn't meet," he stated.

The women's and men's events are played back-to-back during the first two weeks of the season, right before the Australian Open.

The tournament had previously been aiming to add events, looking to take advantage of New Zealand's lack of internal restrictions, but will instead concentrate on keeping its tour events going despite having to take a year off on the schedule. Some international sport, including cricket, has been scheduled in New Zealand, as has regular national sport.

Serena Williams and Ugo Humbert won the event this season.


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Meanwhile, the Australian Open has told players that they will be required to quarantine for two weeks to play the tournament in 2021, but will be allowed to train under arrangements being made by the tournament.

According to recent communication with players from Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley, released by ATP player Lukas Lacko, there are efforts to "ensure that all players would be able to train and prepare for events" and have some "recreational time," perhaps also with "the possibility of being able to compete" during the two weeks.

Tennis Australia will set up facilities in various Australian cities where players can arrive two weeks before the start of the year, it said.

Though the federation has yet to release a schedule of events, it said it wants to give players more "opportunity to compete within the traditional four-week" Australian season.

Tiley also said the tournament would like to have half its usual crowd, or 28,000 spectators per day, if government restrictions allow. 

The Kooyong exhibition event has announced it will not be played.

Tennis Australia's warmup events include the ATP Cup, played in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, along with WTA events in Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart.