2021 Australian Open

The 2021 Australian Open was a Grand Slam tennis tournament that took place at Melbourne Park, on 8–21 February 2021. It was the 109th edition of the Australian Open, the 53rd in the Open Era, and the first Grand Slam of the year. It was originally scheduled for 18–31 January 2021, but was postponed by three weeks to February due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was part of the 2021 ATP Tour and the 2021 WTA Tour.

The tournament consists of events for professional players in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Wheelchair players competed in singles and doubles tournaments. As in previous years, the tournament's main sponsor was Kia.

Novak Djokovic successfully defended the men's singles title as he claimed his 18th Grand Slam title, defeating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Heading into the tournament, Sofia Kenin was the defending Women's Singles champion but she lost to Kaia Kanepi in the second round. In the final, it was Naomi Osaka who claimed her fourth Grand Slam title as she defeated Jennifer Brady (who was competing in her maiden Grand Slam final) in straight sets.

Tournament

Rod Laver Arena in 2013, where the Finals of the Australian Open take place

The 2021 Australian Open is the 109th edition of the tournament, held at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The tournament is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and is part of the 2021 ATP Tour and the 2021 WTA Tour calendars under the Grand Slam category. The tournament consists of both men's and women's singles and doubles draws as well as the mixed doubles events. There are singles and doubles events for both boys and girls (players under 18), which are part of the Grade A category of tournaments. The junior competitions will be played later in 2021. There are also singles, doubles and quad events for men's and women's wheelchair tennis players as part of the NEC tour under the Grand Slam category.

The tournament is played on hard courts and is taking place across a series of 25 courts, the four main show courts Rod Laver Arena, John Cain Arena (formerly Melbourne Arena), Margaret Court Arena and 1573 Arena.

The is the first grand slam tournament not to use line judges. Instead all line calls are made electronically using an expanded version of the Hawk-Eye technology, called "Hawk-Eye Live". This also meant that calls could no longer be challenged by the players.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

On 17 December 2020, Tennis Australia announced this edition of Australian Open would be pushed by three weeks from the original 18 January 2021 start to 8 February, impacting players from Europe and the Americas with being picked up to a selected number of charter flights each to Melbourne. The Victoria State Government would allow a mandatory 14-day quarantine on players with COVID-19 safety precautions in place before the warm-up events start on 31 January and alternate tournaments being held in place the week before the tournament.

For the first time in Grand Slam history, Qualifying matches were held outside the country due to Australia's quarantine restrictions. The men's and women's matches were held in Doha, Qatar and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, respectively, from 10–13 January. The 8 February start will give qualifiers and eight potential lucky losers have their time to travel to Australia and allow to quarantine upon arrival.

On 4 February 2021, all of the scheduled day's events leading up to the tournament, including the ATP Cup and warm-ups, had to be suspended after a 26-year-old man working at the hotel players were quarantining at tested positive for the virus. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews stated that the 8 February start would not be affected due to the schedule change. The events originally scheduled for 4 February as well as the draw ceremonies were held the next day.

The hard quarantine policy was viewed as significantly affecting the tournament bracket, especially in women's singles. In all, 26 players in the women's singles bracket were quarantined, with 12 of them seeded. Nine quarantined players, including four seeds (one of them past Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber), lost in the first round to players who had not been quarantined. Of the 13 quarantined players who survived the first round, five (including two seeds) lost in the second round, and only 22 seed Jennifer Brady advanced past the third round. While the men's singles draw had more quarantined players (29 in all), the only seeded player among that group was No. 25 Benoît Paire. Six first-round matches were between players in this group; of the other 17 players who had been quarantined (including Paire), only Pablo Cuevas won his first-round match. The six survivors all lost in the second round.

Spectator restrictions

On 30 January 2021, Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula announced that the number of spectators would be limited to 30,000 per day during most of the tournament, which is around 50 percent of normal spectator capacity. Actual attendance was generally below this number, with a total attendance of 98,512 spectators during the first 10 days of the tournament. The last five days of the tournament would have up to 25,000 spectators per day.

On 12 February 2021, a five-day snap lockdown and stay-at-home order was declared by the Victoria State Government beginning at 11:59 p.m. AEDT, due to a cluster of active cases linked to another quarantine hotel in Melbourne, presumed to involve a highly-infectious variant of SARS-CoV2. As a result, the tournament was played behind closed doors. The third round match between Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz was the last to be played with spectators present; play was paused at 11:30 p.m. AEDT to escort spectators off the premises, in compliance with the stay-at-home order.

On 17 February 2021, organizers announced that pursuant to the end of the lockdown, spectators would be allowed to return beginning 18 February. Each session was capped at 7,477 spectators.

Singles players

Men's Singles
Women's Singles

Events

Men's Singles

The Men's Singles final was the last match of the tournament, taking place on 21 February. Top seed Novak Djokovic defeated No. 4 Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win his 18th Grand Slam singles championship and his ninth overall (and third consecutive) Australian Open, in a game that lasted an hour and 53 minutes.

Djokovic started the match winning the first three games of the first set and advancing to a 3–0 lead. In this period, he won 13 of the first 16 points, limiting Medvedev to three. Medvedev mounted a brief comeback to win the next three games to match Djokovic 3–3, and both of the players held the next two of their games to reach a scoreline of 5–5. Djokovic broke Medvedev's next serve to win the win the first set 7–5.

Djokovic started the second set with a fault, and a subsequent break for Medvedev. However, Medvedev went on to lose the next two games of his serve. The set ended with Djokovic winning 6–2.

Djokovic had an early lead in the third set, winning the first three games to gain a lead of 3–0. Medvedev was then able to win his first game with a lunge and lob at the net, which Djokovic was unable to return. Both would hold the next two games off their own serve with the score reaching 5–2. Djokovic went on to win the next game, breaking Medvedev's serve, with the final point having him reach to the net and hit a cross-shot across to win the championship. Through the match, Medvedev made a total of 67 errors, of which 30 were unforced errors, while Djokovic had 17 unforced errors. This was Djokovic's ninth Australian open win and 18th grand slams title. 2001 Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanišević, who was part of Djokovic's coaching staff, praised his play and total control through the game, calling his performance, "a masterpiece".

Women's Singles

In the Women's Singles final, played on 20 February, No. 3 Naomi Osaka earned her fourth Grand Slam singles title (and her second at the Australian Open) by defeating first-time Grand Slam finalist Jennifer Brady, the No. 22 seed in straight sets in a match that lasted an hour and 17 minutes. Osaka progressed through the tournament having lost only one set, and became the first woman to win each of her first four Grand Slam singles finals appearances since 1991.

Osaka began the final with service, and dominated the first game without conceding a point. Likewise, Brady held service in the second game, but required two deuces to tie the set at 1–1. Osaka held again to take the lead, and achieved a break in the fourth game, again without conceding a point. Brady subsequently broke Osaka's serve, and held in the sixth game, levelling the set at 3–3. Each player held service once to tie at 4–4 before Osaka took the lead at 5–4 and broke Brady's serve to win the first set, 6–4. The final point of the first set came with Brady charging to the net and trying to smash the ball but finding the net instead.

The second set began with Osaka serving, and she took control of the set shortly thereafter. She held in the first and third games, and broke Brady's service in the second and fourth, jumping out to a 4–0 lead whilst conceding no more than 30 points in any of those games. Brady won her first game of the set breaking Osaka's serve coming from a position of deuce, before winning from an unforced error from Osaka. Both players would hold their next two games, putting the score at 5–3. Osaka took advantage of two forced errors and won the game without conceding, ending the set at 6–3 and winning her the title after 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Brady had a total of 31 unforced errors with four double faults to Osaka's 24 with two double faults.

Men's Doubles

The Men's Doubles title was decided on 21 February, as the No. 9 seeded pair of Ivan Dodig and Filip Polášek defeated the No. 5 seeded pair of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. The match was decided in straight sets (the first such match for the winning pair since the third round), and was the second and first Grand Slam doubles titles for Dodig and Polášek, respectively, in their third and first appearances.

Women's Doubles

No. 3 seeded duo Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka captured their second Grand Slam doubles title as a pair in the championship match of the Women's Doubles event, defeating the Czech No. 2 duo of Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková in straight sets. Following the conclusion of the match, Sabalenka announced that the pair would not play doubles together for the remainder of the year, so that she could focus on singles.

Mixed Doubles

The sixth-seeded duo of Women's Doubles finalist Barbora Krejčíková and Men's Doubles finalist Rajeev Ram defeated Australian duo Samantha Stosur and Matthew Ebden in straight sets on 20 February to win the Mixed Doubles event. The title was their second as a pair, and the third and second overall for Krejčíková and Ram, respectively.

Wheelchair Men's Singles

The final of the wheelchair men's singles took place on February 17 between two of the unseeded players after the top two seeds fell in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively. In the final between Belgian player, Joachim Gérard and British player, Alfie Hewett it would be Gérard who would take out the wheelchair men's singles in three sets to record his first grand slam singles title.

Wheelchair Women's Singles

The final of the wheelchair women's singles was played between the top two seeds in the tournament, Dutch player Diede de Groot and Japanese player Yui Kamiji. The match which was played on the 17 February saw the two tennis players had their match go to three sets with de Groot claiming her third Australian Open title in a tiebreaker.

Wheelchair Quad Singles

The final of the Quad Singles was played on the 17 February between Australian top seed Dylan Alcott and Dutch player, Sam Schröder. The match which was originally going to be held on Rod Laver Arena after the quarter-final match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal but after that match went into a fifth set, the match was moved over to Margaret Court Arena. After being broken in the first game of the match, Alcott raced away winning the next twelve games to record his 12th major Grand Slam quad singles title.

Wheelchair Men's Doubles

The final of the Wheelchair Men's Doubles tournament was played on 16 February in what was a rematch of the 2020 final. The British pair of Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid took their tenth Grand Slam title as a duo, with the pair winning in straight sets.

Wheelchair Women's Doubles

The Wheelchair Women's Doubles final, which was played on 16 February, was won by Dutch duo Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot in straight sets. It was the ninth Grand Slam doubles title for de Groot and the sixteenth for van Koot.

Wheelchair Quad Doubles

The Wheelchair Quad Doubles championship match, a rematch of the last four finals (most recently in 2020), was held on 16 February with Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson defeating Andy Lapthorne and David Wagner in a third-set tiebreak. It was the seventh and fourth Wheelchair Quad Doubles title for Alcott and Davidson, respectively.

Point distribution and prize money

Point distribution

2,000 points were awarded to the winners of the men's and women's singles titles. The men's finalist received 1,200 and the women's finalist received 1,300. Men's singles semifinalists each got 720 points, while women's singles semifinalists got 780. Those that were eliminated in the men's singles quarterfinals got 360 points, while women's singles players eliminated in the quarterfinals got 430. The point allotment for those eliminated in the first four rounds of the tournament decreases the earlier a player was eliminated; for the men's singles tournament, the points given were 180, 90, 45, and 10 for each of the first four rounds, while women's singles players got 240, 130, 70, and 10 for an exit in the first four rounds.

All winners of a wheelchair competition received 800 points, with the finalists of all competitions except the quad doubles receiving 500 points. Participants eliminated in the first round of their respective wheelchair competitions received 100 points; for singles and quad singles, this was the quarterfinals, for doubles it was the semifinals, and for quad doubles it was the final. Participants eliminated in the semifinals in singles or quad singles received 375 points.

Below is a series of tables for each of the competitions showing the ranking points on offer for each event.

Senior points

Wheelchair points

Prize money

The Australian Open total prize money for 2021 increased by 12.7% to a tournament record A$80,000,000.

1Qualifiers prize money was also the Round of 128 prize money.
*per team

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article 2021 Australian Open, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.