All the best of world tennis will be quarantined in Adelaide before the Australian tour that will kick off the 2021 season can begin. From Novak Djokovic to Rafael Nadal, from Naomi Osaka to Serena Williams, the best players in the world have in fact been diverted to the city of South Australia where they will be engaged in an exhibition tournament.
Melbourne's limited hotel availability - where 1,270 players and staff members are expected to arrive next week - prompted Australian Open owner Craig Tiley to ask that fifty players be allowed to carry out their quarantine in one bubble in Adelaide.
After two weeks in the hotel, the tennis players will be able to begin their preparation in view of the official matches in Melbourne, where two tournaments will be played before the Grand Slam, scheduled this year from 8 to 21 February.
Melbourne emerged last October from a period of confinement that lasted several months, following the second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic. Virus widely contained in Australia, but which is still recurring with other outbreaks in major cities, forcing the government to new restrictions, including the closure of borders between the various states.
During a recent talk show on Tennis Channel, top coach Paul Annacone revealed that he ranks only Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer higher than Rafael Nadal on hardcourt. According to the American, Nadal is the favorite to win the title this year after the Serb.
Annacone on the Big 3
"I think very simply, Rafael Nadal is just a little bit worse on hardcourt than Novak Djokovic in particular and Roger Federer as well on a faster hardcourt," Paul Annacone said. "But everyone else I’d put him ahead of.
If he plays Novak at the end of the tournament, I’m not betting on him. But if he plays anyone else I’ll bet on him. I think the biggest thing for Nadal is to get through the first week relatively comfortably."
While Nadal will gun for his 21st title which will take him past Federer’s haul and put him on a pedestal where no other player in the men’s field has reached before, Djokovic has four Grand Slams to close the gap with the Spaniard and the Swiss Master.
Familiar foes in the men’s circuit, the two have been involved in as many as 56 head-to-head battles, with Djokovic holding a marginal 29-27 lead. However, it is the Spaniard who holds a 10-6 lead over the Serb in 16 head-to-head battles in Grand Slam events.