After all the controversy surrounding the Australian Open preparations, tennis is back where it belongs – on the court – and here is a summary of the six pre-slam events taking place right now.
WTA Yarra Valley Classic takes place 31 Jan – 6 Feb and will feature five of the world’s top 11 players.
World number one Ashleigh Barty is top seed, followed by Sophia Kenin, Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova and Serena Williams who is joined by sister Venus Williams too.
WTA Gippsland Trophy takes place 31 Jan – 6 Feb and has four of the world’s top seven players.
World number two Simona Halep is top seed, followed by Naomi Osaka, Eline Svitolina, Aryna Sabalenka and Johanna Konta.
WTA Grampions Trophy is a new event which has been added specifically for those players who have been in hard quarantine without access to court practice.
The tournament will take place 3 – 7 February and will be headlined by 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.
Other competitors include former World number one Victoria Azarenka, Belinda Bencic, Elena Rybakina and former Grand Slam winners Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber.
The ATP Cup is the headline men’s event featuring 14 of the top 15 players in the World and takes place 2 – 6 February.
Novak Djokovic will lead team Team Serbia, the reigning champions, while Rafael Nadal will once again lead Team Spain who were last year’s defeated finalists.
Russia’s challenge looks strong with both ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev and fellow Top 10 star Andrey Rublev in the team, while World number three Dominic Thiem will try to lead Austria to glory.
Other top players competing include Stefanos Tsitipas (Greece), Alexander Zverev (Germany), Diego Schwartzman (Argentina), Matteo Berrettini (Italy), Kei Nishikori (Japan), Gael Monfils (France), Denis Shapovalov (Canada), while Alex de Minaur will be carrying Australia’s hopes.
The Murray River Open takes place 1 – 7 February with winner of three Grand Slams Stan Wawrinka as top seed and a return of tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios.
Other top players include Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Borna Coric and Casper Ruud.
The Great Ocean Road Open will take place 1 – 7 February and will feature top seeds David Goffin, Karen Khachanov and Jannik Sinner.
The Australian Open will begin on February 7.
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