CEO Craig Tiley: Australian Open plans for 50 percent capacity
The move of the Australian Open to February (8-21) was officially announced by the organizers, confirming the schedule communicated by ATP and WTA for the first two months of the year. Here is what we know, almost a month before the return to the circuit, on the pro tennis calendar in 2021.
Rod Laver Arena is not going to ring hollow in February! At a press conference this Saturday, Australian Open director Craig Tiley announced that the tournament would welcome audiences next February (8-21), and that the ticket office would be open from Wednesday 23 December.
— Craig Tiley (@CraigTiley) December 19, 2020
“We’re hoping to accommodate at least 50% of the audience we usually have here,” Tiley said.
This figure would represent around 400,000 people over two weeks.
As at Roland Garros, the public will be divided into several groups in the stands and space will be set between these groups, to ensure the safety of all.
“It has taken eight months of working alongside government authorities, here in Victoria, nationally and interstate, to give us the opportunity to present an Australian Open that will play a major role in both the economic and psychological reinvigoration and rejuvenation of Melbourne and Victoria,” tiley said, adding:
“AO 2021 is going to be all about supporting local businesses – our tennis coaches, the farmers, food and wine producers, chefs, artists and musicians – and celebrating everything that is great about our country, as well as providing opportunities to those who’ve been so hard hit during the pandemic, particularly in Melbourne and Victoria.”
Prize money increases for first-round losers, unchanged overall
The 2021 Australian Open will host the singles, doubles and wheelchair tennis tables, according to Tiley. Qualifying will take place in January in Dubai for women and Doha for men, January 10-13. The junior tournament will take place later in the year. The prize money will be the same as in 2020 at $ 71.5 million.
Tiley also announced a 15% increase in prize money for the first round losers, who will receive $ 100,000 Australian dollars ($76,000 US). Qualifying gains have also been increased significantly, and the full breakdown will be communicated in the coming weeks.
“Melbourne is the home of the biggest sporting events and it’s fantastic that arrangements have been settled for Melbourne Park in February,” Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Jaclyn Symes said. “The 2021 Open will look a bit different and that’s necessary to ensure the safety of everyone, from players, ballkids and the wider community.”
You’d almost forget it, but with these statements, Tiley also just confirmed the dates for the Australian Open and the approval of the political authorities to hold the event. Until Saturday, the dates for the Australian Open were only the subject of press reports before being “confirmed” by ATP.
- Also read: Tennis’ 2021 calendar: What we know so far
- Also read: 2021 ATP/WTA calendar – What we know so far
- Also read: Lessons learned from the pandemic
- Also read: Exclusive interview with WTA chief Steve Simon
- Also read: 2021 ATP/WTA calendar: All still on the table