Australian Open date set
The 2021 Australian Open will start on February 8th three weeks later than usual, the newly released men's tour schedule has confirmed.
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 only runs the men's side of professional tennis, but has to be in sync with the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and International Tennis Federation (ITF) around the four majors every year.
The men's schedule, confirmed for the first seven weeks of 2021will also feature three warm up events in Melbourne, including the ATP Cup and relocated Adelaide international.
Qualifying for the Australian Open will be held outside the country for the first time, with Doha, Qatar playing host from January 10-13.
It will allow qualifying players to quarantine in Australia before the warm up events start on January 31.
"The reconfigured calendar for the start of the 2021 season represents a huge collaborative effort across tennis, under challenging circumstances," ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in announcing the first seven weeks of the men's season.
"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 Australian Open tournament will run from 8th-21st February, with announcements on crowd numbers expected in the New Year.
IMAGE: Australian Open website.