Australian Open pushed back three weeks into February

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FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

The 2021 Australian Open will be pushed back three weeks due to COVID-19 precautions, with the first Grand Slam event of the calendar year now set to be contested in February.

An updated ATP Tour calendar has the Melbourne event now starting Feb. 8 as a part of a revision to the first seven weeks of the schedule.

Men's qualifying for the event now will take place Jan. 10-13 at Doha, Qatar. Players then would have three and a half weeks to travel to Australia and quarantine for two weeks before participating in the tournament.

Two warm-up tournaments for non-qualifiers will take place concurrently at Melbourne during the last week of January.

"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 a statement. "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."

The ATP season will begin Jan. 5-13 with tournaments at Delray Beach, Fla., and Antalya, Turkey. The New York Open and the Auckland Classic have been canceled in 2021, while the Rio Open in Brazil and the Maharashtra Open in India are being postponed.

Details of events from Weeks 8-13 will be released at a later date. Events from Week 14 and beyond are not being adjusted, as of now.

"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," Gaudenzi said.

The 2020 Australian Open was the last Grand Slam event to be played under traditional circumstances with Novak Djokovic winning on the men's side and Sofia Kenin winning the women's title. Wimbledon was canceled last year, while the U.S. Open and French Open were played without fans in the stands.

(Field Level Media)