The first Major of the season starts in Melbourne on February 8. The ATP Cup takes place a week earlier, and the world's leading players will have to join the action from Adelaide, as the organizers have changed the initial quarantine plans.
Melbourne will welcome over 1200 people (players and their coaching staff) this week, with 18 flights from seven separate locations and absolute health measures administered by the state government. The organizers have almost packed 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 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. Nadal planned to practice with the young Italian Jannik Sinner in the opening quarantine week.
Marca reported that Sinner would not join Nadal in Adelaide, as Nadal picked his friend Marc Lopez as the training partner. That would not be the case in the end, as Jannik will travel to Adelaide and work with Rafa in the following days.
Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner will train in Adelaide next week.
The world's best youngster will probably get the opportunity to play those exhibition matches at the end of January before heading to Melbourne with Nadal, Thiem and Djokovic.
Rafa and Jannik had already trained in Melbourne a year ago during Sinner's debut at the season's first Major, arranging more training sessions in January ahead of the new season's first big event. Sinner made remarkable progress in the previous two seasons, gaining 500 positions on the ATP ranking list to settle into the top-40 at the end of 2020.
The San Candido native claimed three Challenger titles in 2019 to make a name for himself, made a Major debut at the US Open and reached the semi-final in Antwerp to announce his arrival. After a slower start of the 2020 campaign, the youngster secured 15 of the season's last 19 matches, advancing into the Roland Garros quarter-final and lifting the first ATP trophy in Sofia.
In Paris, Sinner made a notable debut, beating four opponents to become the youngest player in the last eight since Rafael Nadal, his rival in that quarter-final encounter! A teenager gave his everything to challenge the king of clay, serving for the opening set and leading in the second before Rafa prevailed 7-6, 6-4, 6-1.