In the first episode of 2021, Eugene and Lucy recap events in Delray Beach and Abu Dhabi; discuss what’s been happening Down Under with hard lockdown; and preview upcoming events in Melbourne
Recapping Events So Far Frances Tiafoe and Donald Young faced off in the first round in Delray Beach, which was great to see. Tiafoe went on to reach to the quarter-finals.
– In Abu Dhabi, Heather Watson opened against fellow Brit Jodie Burrage, won in three sets before going out in the second round to Ekaterina Alexandrova. Coco Gauff got her season off to a winning start and Jasmine Paolini lost in the first round to talented Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez.
– In Australian Open qualifying, Whitney Osuigwe, Elias Ymer and Michael Mmoh all came through in Dubai and Doha respectively. Each had to win three matches to secure their spot.
News Serena Williams is subjected to some pretty nasty remarks; Naomi Osaka is “Where The Money Resides” with all her sponsorship/investment announcements; Gael Monfils has a new coach; and Felix Auger-Aliassime swaps Nike for adidas.
Hard Lockdown 72 players in Melbourne were subjected to a strict 14-day hotel room lockdown as a result by of being on a contaminated plane. Some players adapted better than others.
– Meanwhile in Adelaide, Serena, Naomi, Venus, Simona Halep, Ashleigh Barty, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem (A Day At The Drive exo contestants) were able to enjoy. Serena and Osaka also came with the good vibes in their exhibition match, with Serena coming out on top.
Gippsland Trophy (WTA 500)
– Osuigwe opens against Anastasia Potopova top seed Halep awaits in R2
– Paolini takes on Rebecca Marino, 10th seed Qiang Wang awaits in R2
– Gauff takes on Jil Teichmann (same half of the draw as second seed Osaka potential R3 meeting)
Yarra Valley Classic (WTA 500)
– Serena seeded fifth has a first-round bye, awaits Victoria Kuzmova or Daria Gavrilova in R2
– Venus opens against Arantxa Rus, fourth seed Petra Kvitova awaits in R2
Grampians Trophy (WTA 500)
Sloane Stephens and Watson will be among the 28-player field, alongside Bianca Andreescu and Victoria Azarenka among others, for this event for the players who were in hard lockdown.
Murray River Open (ATP 250)
Auger-Aliassime, Tiafoe, the Ymer brothers [Mikael & Elias] and Mmoh all feature.
Monfils leads Team France who are in Group C with Austria and Italy.