The first Major of the season starts in Melbourne on February 8, while five other tournaments occur a week before. The ATP Cup takes place from February 1-5, and the world's leading players will have to join the action from Adelaide, as the organizers have changed the initial plans about the quarantine and the bubble.
Melbourne will welcome over 1200 people (players and their coaching staff) next week, with 18 flights from seven separate locations and complete health measures executed by the state government. The organizers have almost crowded their Melbourne hotel capacities, and they had to seek other options ahead of the first matches in February.
They decided to send the leading ATP and WTA players and their coaching teams (around 50 people) to Adelaide. The local government agreed to welcome them if they would play exhibition matches at the end of January, confirmed by Craig Tiley and others.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem will travel to Adelaide instead of Melbourne for two-week quarantine, in what should be the same conditions for the Tour's majority, at least on the paper. Players like Jeremy Chardy and others are not happy about this decision, saying that the leading stars will experience more relaxed conditions from those in Melbourne.
They fear that Novak, Rafa and Dominic will stay away from the room for a more extended period than them and act like it is almost a regular tournament. Djokovic, Nadal and Thiem shared Major trophies in 2020, occupying five out of six places in the finals.
Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic will travel to Adelaide.
Djokovic defeated Thiem at the Australian Open in five sets, and the Austrian lifted the first Major trophy against Alexander Zverev at the US Open.
Nadal bounced back at Roland Garros, toppling Djokovic in straight sets to secure the 20th Major crown and join Roger Federer at the top of the GOAT list. "We approached the South Australian government about the possibility of them quarantining at least 50 people, but they wouldn't have any interest in doing it because there's no benefit for them to do it to put their community at risk if the players then go straight to Melbourne.
But it would be a benefit if they played an exhibition tournament just before they came to Melbourne, so the premier Steven Marshall has agreed to host 50 people in a quarantine bubble and then have those players play an exhibition event.
We know we're going to have a lot more challenges, but the bottom line is we will do the best we can to deliver an Australian Open that is close to what it was in 2020. We all feel buoyed and confident about what we can pull off during a pandemic," Craig Tiley said.