While players get ready for a loaded six-tournament spread in Melbourne next week, here's what has been happening away from Australia.
MIAMI’S STADIUM WON’T BE ROCKING IN MARCH
On Wednesday, Miami Open officials sent out an encouraging note to past ticket holders about the combined 1000 event proceeding with plans to run in 2021, but with one major caveat. There will be no main court within Hard Rock Stadium this year—and ticket packages will automatically roll over to 2022 to streamline the process.
“In the coming weeks, a decision regarding in-person fan attendance during the 2021 Miami Open will be made following further consultation with the local, state, and federal authorities; and medical professionals,” a statement read. “Should we receive clearance to allow fans to attend this year’s tournament, ticket plan holders will receive priority access to any available tickets.”
Tennis Channel’s Jon Wertheim tweeted he was “hearing” the tournament was eyeing fan capacity at 20 percent.
WELCOME BACK, LUCAS
Less than a week after becoming a dad to daughter Rose, Lucas Pouille stepped on a match court for the first time since March 3. Having undergone surgery on his right elbow last July, Pouille won his doubles opener at Quimper 1 on Tuesday with Mathias Bourge. A day later, he narrowly went down in singles, falling to Filip Horansky, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Quimper is hosting back-to-back tournaments and Pouille is expected to continue his return next week.
Andy Murray and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina were among the players ruled out of the Australian Open as a result of testing positive for COVID-19 just before they were due to depart for Melbourne on government approved charter flights. Both have now shifted their focus to the ATP Challenger Tour.
The 54th-ranked Spaniard will launch his season at next week’s Quimper 2 tournament, before joining Murray in Italy two weeks later. Biella is set to host consecutive indoor-hard events, with Murray and Davidovich entering Biella 2 beginning February 15. Wild cards are still available for the first run.
SEBOV-PARKS MEET FOR FIRST TIME SINCE INCIDENT
In November 2019, Katherine Sebov and Alycia Parks went viral, but for all the wrong reasons. Sebov defeated Parks, 6-0, 7-6 (9), at an ITF event in Las Vegas. When the two arrived at the net, things took a turn south.
Parks felt Sebov was overly aggressive with her squeezing during their handshake. Sensing that wasn't the end, the chair umpire jumped down and tried to intervene. An upset Parks went around him to approach Sebov's chair and was shoved back by the Canadian. The two exchanged a couple more pushes as Parks continued to verbalize her frustration.
On Thursday, the two squared off for the first time since that heated encounter, this time in Rome, Georgia. World No. 280 Sebov once again claimed victory, advancing without much resistance, 6-1, 6-3, over her 318th-ranked opponent. It's our understanding this sequel was not streamed.
KORDA APPROACHING TOP 100
Fresh off his first ATP final in Delray Beach, Sebastian Korda has risen to the occasion at Quimper 1 with a pair of valiant victories.
In the first round against Tristan Lamasine, the 20-year-old erased a 1-5 deficit in the final set tiebreak and later fended off a match point to survive. On Thursday, he turned the tide to deny Bourge, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4. If he takes out his third straight Frenchman, Enzo Couacaud or Evan Furness, Korda will break into the Top 100.