Despite COVID-19 issues, the 2021 Australian Open is set to begin as planned. The event appeared to be in danger as recently as Thursday, when a number of matches were canceled and over 500 people were forced to isolate after a worker at the event reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
As long as that positive test hasn’t resulted in an outbreak, the first Grand Slam event of 2021 will begin Monday, Feb. 8 (local time). The event is set to run through Feb. 21. All the matches will take place at Melbourne Park.
When does the Australian Open start?
While there are already matches taking place at Melbourne Park, those are part of the ATP Cup.
The first round of the Australian Open begins Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. local time. For viewers in the United States who want to catch the action, the first match of the first round will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7.
There will be two sessions per day. The second session will begin at 7 p.m. local time and 3 a.m. in the United States.
The Open will maintain that schedule until Feb. 15, when quarterfinal matches will begin. The women’s semifinal will occur Feb. 17, with the men’s semifinal taking place Feb. 18.
A number of finals will take place between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21, according to NBCSports.
The women's doubles final, men's singles final and mixed doubles semifinal are at 11 p.m. ET on Feb. 18. The women’s singles final and men’s doubles final are scheduled for Feb. 20 at midnight ET. The tournament concludes with the mixed doubles final and men’s singles final at midnight ET on Feb. 21.
How can I watch the Australian Open?
The 2021 Australian Open will be broadcast in the United States on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNNews, ESPN+ and ESPN3. ESPN2 will carry “daily, marathon, prime-time and overnight telecasts from Melbourne,” according to the network. ESPN will carry the later games.
ESPN2 will broadcast the women’s semifinals. ESPN will carry the men’s semifinals.
Who will compete at the Australian Open?
The event will feature men’s No. 1 Novak Djokovic attempt to defend his title after winning the Australian Open in 2020. Djokovic also won the event in 2019. Rafael Nadal — the No. 2 ranked men’s singles player — won the event in both 2018 and 2017. Dominic Thiem — who lost to Djokovic in the finals last year — is ranked No. 3 among men’s singles players.
On the women’s side, Sofia Kenin will look to repeat as champion. Kenin is currently ranked as the No. 4 women’s singles player. Kenin will have to fight off Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka, who rank No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 among women’s singles players respectively. Osaka won the Australian Open in 2019. Halep made it to the finals in 2018, losing to Caroline Wozniacki.
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