The ATP Tour has released an updated schedule for the first two months of 2021, with the Australian Open will start on 8 February, three weeks later than planned.

The ATP on Thursday revealed its revised 2021 calendar with the Melbourne Park grand slam front and centre of pandemic-forced shake-up. ATP plans to accommodate travel and quarantine plans for players and support staff.

The confirmation from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the governing body of the men’s tour, follows weeks of speculation about the future of next year’s event.

The ATP Cup, which was played for the first time this year, is also on the calendar, although it will be reduced from 24 teams to 12 next year.

Qualifying for the Australian Open will be held outside the country for the first time in Doha from January 10-13.

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “The reconfigured calendar for the start of the 2021 season represents a huge collaborative effort across tennis, under challenging circumstances. Together with the support of our tournament and player members, partners, and Tennis Australia, we have been able to adapt and create an exciting start to the season. Health and safety will continue to be paramount as we navigate the challenges ahead, and I want to thank everyone involved for their commitment to finding solutions to launch our 2021 season.”

The ATP is looking for new dates for the Rio Open, which was supposed to begin February 17 but now conflicts with the two-week Australian Open main draw.

The ATP will continue to assess opportunities for additional single-year licenses to be scheduled in the first quarter of 2021 and will communicate any additions once confirmed.

The ATP Challenger Tour season will begin the week of January 18, following the completion of Australian Open qualifying.

Novak Djokovic is the reigning men’s Australian Open champion, while Sofia Kenin claimed the 2020 women’s crown at Melbourne Park.

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