With the Australian Open finished, what’s next on the tennis calendar?
Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic were crowned champions at the opening major of the year in Melbourne after both winning their finals in straight sets.
There’s plenty to look forward to now, including Roger Federer’s long-awaited return and Andy Murray continuing his comeback…
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Federer returns in Doha
“I wanted to make my comeback at a smaller tournament, so as not to be fully in the spotlight.”
Good luck with that Roger.
All eyes will be on the 20-time Grand Slam winner as he plays his first competitive match in over a year in Doha next week.
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Federer has undergone two knee surgeries since losing in the semi-finals of the Australian Open last year and has delayed his comeback to try and ensure he is in the best physical condition.
Now 39, this could be Federer’s last year on tour and it will be fascinating to see how he looks and how he plays after so long out. Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka and Andrey Rublev are among the other entrants in a strong-looking Doha draw.
Murray plays Montpellier
Murray was supposed to start his season at the Australian Open, but those plans were curtailed after he tested positive for Covid-19.
Instead he played at the slightly smaller surroundings of a Challenger event in Biella in Italy, where he lost to Illya Marchenko in the final. He was due to play in another Challenger last week but opted to skip that and focus on his first ATP tournament of the year in Montpellier.
Murray starts against Egor Gerasimov on Tuesday and then could face talented young Italian Jannik Sinner in the second round. Like with Federer, Murray’s game will be under close inspection after time away from the tour recovering from injury.
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Barty headlines Adelaide
While the men’s tour leaves Australia, the WTA is not going anywhere quite yet.
World No 1 Ashleigh Barty will be the top seed in a WTA 500 event in Adelaide where Johanna Konta, Belinda Bencic and French Open champion Iga Swiatek will also feature. The tournament finishes on February 27 and the tour will then head to Doha where most of the top players in the world will be featuring.
Serena Williams and Australian Open champion Osaka will be notable absentees, but Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova are set to enter.
Bianca Andreescu will miss both Adelaide and Doha due to concerns over her fitness. The 2019 US Open champion made her return after 15 months out at the Australian Open following a knee injury. Although she lost in the second round, she then reached the semi-finals at the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne the following week. She was due to play in Adelaide and Doha but will instead focus on returning at the Miami Open on March 23.
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Stellar Rotterdam field
Six of the world’s top 10 men are set to play in Rotterdam, starting on March 1.
World No 2 Rafael Nadal, beaten Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev are all scheduled to feature at the season’s first ATP 500 event.
Murray has also been handed a wild card for the tournament and Wawrinka and Gael Monfils are also on the entry list. Players will be building up to the first Masters tournament of the season which takes place in Miami at the end of March.
It is not yet known when Australian Open champion Djokovic will play again as he looks to recover from an abdominal injury suffered in the third round of the tournament against Taylor Fritz. The world No 1 is the defending champion at the ATP 500 in Dubai, which starts on March 15.
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