Sydney set for massive summer of tennis as calendar revealed

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Sydney set for massive summer of tennis as calendar revealed

By Phil Lutton

Sydney will play host to one of its biggest tennis summers after Tennis Australia (TA) confirmed its schedule ahead of next year’s Australian Open.

In a refreshed calendar that sees play concentrated in NSW, South Australia and Victoria before the first Grand Slam of the New Year, Sydney will be at the epicentre for a fortnight with the ATP Cup (January 1-9) preceding the new Sydney Tennis Classic (January 9-15).

That means two weeks of elite level tennis in the Harbour City, while Adelaide will mirror those dates with WTA and ATP tournaments of their own. Melbourne Park will find room for three events, two WTA and one ATP tournaments, from January 3-9.

But it will be Sydney that is likely to be the main focus, especially if world No.1 Novak Djokovic makes the decision to travel to represent Serbia in the ATP Cup, a 16-team ATP event. Djokovic has yet to confirm his vaccination status but the lure of a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam is a powerful elixir.

The ATP Cup would be his logical starting point. The 20-time grand slam winner has his critics but he pours his heart into playing for his nation and inspired Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup in 2020.

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a shot against Alex de Minaur of Australia during their ATP Cup tennis match in Sydney in 2020.

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a shot against Alex de Minaur of Australia during their ATP Cup tennis match in Sydney in 2020.Credit:AP

The ATP Cup will be played across two venues, Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena, while the one-off Sydney Tennis Classic will unfold at Ken Rosewall Arena the following week. That will comprise a WTA 500 tournament and an ATP 250 event.

Those tournaments will be part of 17 played ahead of the Australian Open, which begins on January 17, after extensive work from TA to factor in state border restrictions and ensure inbound athletes can move freely between events.

One major casualty of the summer has been the Brisbane International, which had become a key WTA and ATP stop ahead of the Australian Open. For the second year running, Pat Rafter Arena will vacant in January, with Memorial Drive in Adelaide cashing in on the lucrative time slot.

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In a statement, Brisbane organisers said the tournament would return in 2023 and they were unable to meet the conditions to stage the event.

TA chief executive Craig Tiley said there had been any number of moving pieces but they were pleased to be able to lock in the summer schedule, with all roads leading to Melbourne from mid-January.

“We have worked closely with both the women’s and men’s Tours and would like to particularly thank our government partners across the country who have all been tireless in their efforts to bring the tennis back in 2022,” Tiley said.

“I know it was sorely missed this year, and we are already planning to have a full program of events across the country in 2023.

“It is not news to anyone that the pandemic, closed borders and varying rates of vaccination created a massive challenge for us and led to the changes specifically for the summer.

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“It’s why we waited as long as possible to secure optimal conditions for the players and fans in as many locations as we could.”

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