Doha to host Australian Open 2021 men’s qualifying

  • Tennis Australia

Australian Open 2021 men’s qualifying will take place at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar from Sunday 10 to Wednesday 13 January.

The decision to host qualifying offshore is an innovative solution for the AO with 128 men to compete for sixteen qualifying spots in the Australian Open main draw to be held in Melbourne from 8-21 February.

“We are very grateful to our friends in Qatar for hosting the Australian Open 2021 men’s qualifying event in Doha,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.

“Staging the AO qualifying event, and providing players with the opportunity to both earn prize money and win the chance to play Grand Slam tennis during this difficult time has been a key objective in all our planning.

“I would particularly like to thank Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Karim Alami and the Qatar Tennis Federation who have led the charge to help us stage this event due to the current travel restrictions into Australia.

Qatar Tennis Federation Board Member, Karim Alami, said, "It's our pleasure to have the opportunity of hosting the qualifying rounds of the 2021 Australian Open, and we are glad to welcome all the participating players to Doha. We promise them an exceptional experience which will live up to Qatar's globally recognised reputation as a major destination for world sports.

"Selecting Doha to host the 2021 Australian Open qualifiers due to coronavirus pandemic reflects the global trust in Qatar's abilities, and we are not going to leave any stoned unturned in organising a world-class event," he added.

Alami also stressed that the federation would work alongside the health authorities to ensure the safety of the players and to organise a risk-free event.

The field features an exciting mix of promising young talent keen to achieve breakthrough results and experienced players.

Rising stars on the entry list include recent Australian Open boys’ singles champions Sebastian Korda (AO 2018) and Lorenzo Musetti (AO 2019).

World No.118-ranked Korda, a 20-year-old American who made the fourth round at Roland Garros as a qualifier earlier this year, is the son of AO 1998 champion Petr Korda.

World No.128-ranked Musetti, aged 18, also enjoyed a breakout 2020 season, winning his maiden ATP Challenger title and scoring his first top-20 victory against Stan Wawrinka in Rome.  

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, a 17-year-old ranked No.141 who won three ATP Challenger titles in 2020 and was voted the ATP Tour’s Newcomer of the Year, and France’s Hugo Gaston, a 20-year-old who made the Roland Garros fourth round in 2020, are also on the list of players to watch.

More familiar names in the draw include former world No.5 Tommy Robredo, an Australian Open 2007 quarterfinalist, and 36-year-old Italian Andreas Seppi, a former world No.18 who advanced to the Australian Open fourth round on four occasions and boasts wins over Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios at Melbourne Park.

Former world No.10 Ernests Gulbis, former world No.12 Viktor Troicki and big-serving former world No.14 Ivo Karlovic will also rely on their experience at the top of the game to progress to the main draw. Karlovic, aged 41 and the tallest top-20 player in history, advanced to the second round at AO 2020, making him the AO’s oldest singles match winner since Australia’s Ken Rosewall in 1978.

Eleven Australians will compete with Bernard Tomic (Qld), Andrew Harris (Vic) and Max Purcell (NSW) joining wildcards Blake Mott (NSW), Jason Kubler (Qld), Akira Santillan (Qld), Tristan Schoolkate (WA), Rinky Hijikata (NSW), Dane Sweeny (Qld), John-Patrick Smith (Qld) and Matt Ebden (WA).

AO 2021 men’s qualifying wildcards – 10-13 January (as at 29 December 2020)

Jason Kubler (Qld)

Akira Santillan (Qld)

Tristan Schoolkate (WA)

Rinky Hijikata (NSW)

Dane Sweeny (Qld)

Matt Ebden (WA)

Blake Mott (NSW)

John-Patrick Smith (Qld)

Wildcard – TBD

Players will need to win three qualifying matches to qualify for the main draw and all matches are best of three sets. Following the event the 16 qualifiers will be joined by a further six alternate players and travel to Australia to undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine with other main draw players.

The qualifying draw will take place at 3:00 pm local time (GMT+3) on Saturday 9 January and will be available here.

Live scoring and live streaming of qualifying where available will be hosted via ausopen.com and the AO app.