Barty and Kyrgios lead stellar Melbourne Summer Series fields

  • Tennis Australia

Australian superstars, world No.1 Ash Barty (Qld) and Nick Kyrgios (ACT) headline a blockbuster Melbourne Summer Series at Melbourne Park from 31 January to 6 February 2021.

The Australian summer of tennis will kick off with two WTA 500 and two ATP 250 tournaments featuring the world’s best players competing for more than $2.2 million in prizemoney, before the Australian Open.

The tournaments will be named to recognise key regions of Victoria as the Melbourne Summer Series and Australian Open promote the reinvigoration of the state following the challenges faced due to both bushfires and the pandemic.

Each tournament name from 31 January will honour Gippsland, the Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road and the Murray River, with Phillip Island attached to the WTA event in week two of the AO.

Leading the women’s field is top ranked Barty, who will make her first eagerly awaited competitive appearance in 11 months, after opting not to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last summer, the 24-year-old won the inaugural Adelaide International title and became the first local woman to reach an Australian Open semifinal since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

The Queenslander will face fierce competition from a Grand Slam quality field, with 49 of the world’s top 50 players committed to compete. This includes 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams (USA), world No.2 Simona Halep (ROU), defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin (USA) and past AO champions Naomi Osaka (JPN), Victoria Azarenka (BLR) and Angelique Kerber (GER).

Each WTA tournament will feature a 64-draw, with the top-32 ranked players to be split across the two events and remaining players randomly drawn.

On the men’s side, the fields have already been divided into two ATP 250 tournaments.

World No.16 David Goffin (BEL) and [20] Karen Khachanov (RUS) lead the Great Ocean Road Open, with former top-10 players Kevin Anderson (RSA) and John Isner (USA) also competing alongside Australia’s Jordan Thompson.

Nick Kyrgios is set to light up Melbourne Park in the Murray River Open, joining former AO champion [18] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) and [19] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), two players who have enjoyed great success in Melbourne. Exciting young gun [21] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) and Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic (CRO) have also entered.

“Having 49 of the world’s top 50 women, and an outstanding men’s field commit for the Melbourne Summer Series is a huge bonus for fans and promises quality matches for players leading into the Australian Open,” Tennis Australia Head of Major Events Cameron Pearson said.

“There’s no doubt this will be an historic week of tennis, and is the biggest-ever AO lead-in week we have seen in Australia. It’s an exciting prospect for fans both onsite and watching around the world.

“While we know the circumstances are unique this year, it is a huge coup to secure such strong playing fields. I hope fans, whether onsite or watching at home, will embrace what will be a high quality week of events.”

To ensure the safety of all patrons on site, the Melbourne Park precinct will be split into three zones with a corresponding ticket. Further details about tickets will be released soon.

The ATP Cup will be played alongside the Melbourne Summer Series at Melbourne Park.

MELBOURNE SUMMER SERIES FAST FACTS – 31 JANUARY TO 6 FEBRUARY

Gippsland Trophy and Yarra Valley Classic - 2 x WTA 500s

Acceptance list here

• The WTA tournaments feature 49 of the world’s top 50 women

• Each tournament will feature 64-singles and 32-doubles draws, with the singles main draw to include two wildcards and eight qualifiers

·         The top 32 ranked players will be split across the two tournaments to determine 16 seeds with remaining players then randomly drawn into each event

·         Qualifying will start on 31 January as will the main draw

·         Field includes five past Australian Open champions – World No.3 Naomi Osaka (JPN), [4] Sofia Kenin (USA), [11] Serena Williams (USA), [13] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) and [25] Angelique Kerber (GER).

·         Grand Slam champions Bianca Andreescu (CAN), Petra Kvitova (CZE), Iga Swiatek (POL), Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS), Sloane Stephens (USA) and Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) add further star power to the entry list – which features 15 Grand Slam singles champions in total

• Two Australian players are direct acceptances with world No.68 Ajla Tomljanovic (Qld) joining Barty.

Great Ocean Road Open and Murray River Open - 2 x ATP 250s

Acceptance lists here

• Each tournament will feature a 64-singles and 32-doubles draws, with the singles main draw including four wildcards and eight qualifiers

·         Qualifying will start on 31 January as will the main draw

• Eight top 40-ranked players feature in the Great Ocean Road Open: David Goffin (BEL), Karen Khachanov (RUS), Cristian Garin (CHI), John Isner (USA), Hubert Hurkacz (POL), Jannik Sinner (ITA), Reilly Opelka (USA) and Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO)

• Ten top 40-ranked players will contest the Murray River Open - Stan Wawrinka (SUI), Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN), Borna Coric (CRO), Casper Ruud (NOR), Taylor Fritz (USA), Ugo Humbert (FRA), Lorenzo Sonego (ITA), Dan Evans (GBR) and Adrian Mannarino (FRA)

• Two Australian players are direct acceptances - Nick Kyrgios (ACT) and Jordan Thompson (NSW).