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The Indian Wells Open has been postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The prestigious ATP and WTA combined tournament in California did not go ahead this year as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

March 8-21 were due to be the dates for the 2021 event, but tournament organisers on Tuesday revealed it will not go ahead as scheduled and alternative dates are being considered.

A statement read: "The tournament is proactively working with the ATP and WTA Tours as well as title sponsor BNP Paribas to confirm dates later in the year to hold the event.

"Details will be released in the near future as plans are finalised. This decision was made after thorough consultation with state and local health authorities and tournament owner Larry Ellison."

The ATP has announced a revised schedule for weeks 8-13 of the 2021 season.

It had already been decided that the Australian Open will start at the later date of February 8. 

The Miami Open is still scheduled to get under way on March 22 following the European Indoor, Latin American and Middle East swings.

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the upcoming Australian Open as the 20-time grand slam champion continues to work his way back to full fitness following a knee injury, his agent has announced. 

Federer has not played since losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the 2020 Australian Open at the start of this year, having twice undergone knee surgery since that tournament. 

The 39-year-old Swiss superstar will not travel to Melbourne for the rescheduled 2021 Australian Open, which will take place from February 8-21. 

"Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open. He has made strong progress in the last couple of months with his knee and his fitness," Tony Godsick said in a statement to The Associated Press. 

"However, after consultation with his team, he decided that the best decision for him in the long run is to return to competitive tennis after the Australian Open. 

"I will start discussions this coming week for tournaments that begin in late February and then start to build a schedule for the rest of the year." 

Federer is a six-time winner of the Australian Open, with his last triumph coming in 2018. 

Ranked fifth on the ATP Tour, Federer had a 5-1 win-loss record before his 2020 campaign was cut short.

The 2021 Australian Open, meanwhile, will take place in February, instead of its typical January 18 start date, amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

There will be warm-up events in Melbourne after travelling players serve 14-day quarantine periods in Victoria that permits them to train for a maximum of five hours per day at a secure facility. 

There will be three ATP warm-up events in Melbourne too, including the ATP Cup from February 1-5. 

The Adelaide International has been relocated to Melbourne and will run alongside an additional ATP 250 tournament in the city from January 31 to February 6.

Andy Murray will take part in February's delayed Australian Open after being awarded a main-draw wildcard.

The five-time runner-up last competed in the tournament in 2019 when playing what he thought might be his final match as a professional.

Murray lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round and missed the rest of that season's grand slams, as well as the following year's competition in Melbourne.

However, the former world number one - plagued by a chronic hip injury - made his grand slam return at the US Open in September and also competed in the French Open weeks later.

Now ranked 122 in the world, Murray will be drafted into the draw for the 2021 Australian Open, which is due to begin on February 8 after a delay because of coronavirus factors.

"We welcome Andy back to Melbourne with open arms," tournament director Craig Tiley said on Sunday.

"As a five-time finalist, he has been an integral part of so many amazing matches and storylines in the recent history of the Australian Open.

"His retirement was an emotional moment and seeing him come back, having undergone major surgery and built himself back up to get onto the tour again, will be a highlight of AO 2021.

"We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him in 2021."

Murray has also accepted a wildcard to compete at the ATP event in Delray Beach, Florida, in the first week of January, where he will join the likes of John Isner and Milos Raonic.

The 33-year-old enters the 2021 season on the back of wins at the 'Battle of the Brits' event against Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans earlier this month.

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the ATP Player Council elections with a "very heavy heart" after it was deemed his role in the Professional Tennis Players' Association (PTPA) was a conflict of interest.

The world number one quit as president of the ATP Player Council in August as he co-founded the PTPA with Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

Djokovic then last month surprisingly announced he had been nominated for a return to the council for the 2021 season, but on Monday revealed he would not be eligible due to a new ATP rule.

"I would like to give you an update with regards to my notification for the next ATP Player Council elections," Djokovic posted on Instagram and Twitter.

"I would like to first say, as always, I am honoured by the continued support and confidence shown by those who nominated me to once again serve our collective player interests on the council.

"My first reaction to this nomination was to accept it with the intention that, if elected, I would do my best to protect players' interests within the ATP.

"However, a few days after my nomination the ATP passed a new rule which has put me in a difficult position. This new rule specifies that all members of the newly formed Professional Tennis Players' Association or any association that is deemed as having a 'conflict of interest' cannot be elected as a member of the Players Council.

"As you know, I am part of the PTPA, an organisation that was recently created with no intention of being in conflict with the ATP.

"The PTPA has yet to be structured with its strategy and long-term vision yet to be clearly defined, and although the PTPA has made it clear it does not intend to be combative, it is unclear how the ATP will view the association in the future.

"Unfortunately, given these latest developments I feel it is now necessary to remove my name from the list of candidates. I do not wish to create conflict or uncertainty around the player elections or create any issues that may arise.

"I do this reluctantly and with a very heavy heart. I am, and always have been, very passionate when it comes to representing my peers on the council.

"I truly believe there is a path forward that will greatly improve the lives of many players, especially the lower ranked, and have a powerful and positive impact on the sport of tennis as a whole. I am confident that the PTPA will achieve this in the near future.

“Before concluding, I wish to communicate that it is extremely important that we do not have conflicts of interest in our sport.

"I hope that, going forward, this is not only applied to the formation of new associations at the player level but further applied to all levels within the ATP structure."

All players will be required to quarantine in Melbourne for two weeks before the rescheduled Australian Open gets underway on February 8, the Victorian government confirmed on Saturday.

After the ATP Tour revealed its updated schedule for the first seven weeks of the 2021 season on Wednesday, the Australian Open and the state government confirmed plans for the showpiece event at Melbourne Park.

Uncertainty had surrounded next year's Australian Open due to the coronavirus pandemic – the grand slam typically starts on January 18 in Melbourne – but the major event is set to take place from February 8-21.

Qualifying for the Australian Open will also be held outside of the country, with Doha, Qatar playing host from January 10-13.

There will be warm-up events in Melbourne after travelling players serve 14-day quarantine periods in Victoria that permits them to train for a maximum of five hours per day at a secure facility.

"Quarantine plans have been endorsed by the Chief Health Officer and the Andrews Labor Government will work with Tennis Australia to finalise a COVIDSafe Plan that ensures the safety of all parties," a statement from the Victorian government read. "Rigorous infection prevention and control measures will be central to these arrangements."

"Players and their support teams will be tested prior to departing for Australia and then a minimum of five times during their quarantine period," the statement continued. "If they test positive, they will be subject to standard quarantine arrangements until being cleared by public health officials."

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: "For the first time in more than 100 years the Australian Open will start in February and we look forward to offering the players what we believe will be one of their best playing experiences in 2021.

"From the outset, ensuring players have the best possible preparation for the Australian Open, while at all times protecting the precious COVID-free environment that the Victorian community has built through incredible sacrifice and hard work over the past six months, has been paramount.

"It has taken eight months of working alongside government authorities, here in Victoria, nationally and interstate, to give us the opportunity to present an Australian Open that will play a major role in both the economic and psychological reinvigoration and rejuvenation of Melbourne and Victoria.

"AO 2021 is going to be all about supporting local businesses – our tennis coaches, the farmers, food and wine producers, chefs, artists and musicians – and celebrating everything that is great about our country, as well as providing opportunities to those who’ve been so hard hit during the pandemic, particularly in Melbourne and Victoria."

There will be three ATP warm-up events in Melbourne, including the ATP Cup from February 1-5.

The Adelaide International has been relocated to Melbourne and will run alongside an additional ATP 250 tournament in the city from January 31 to February 6.

There will be two WTA 500 tournaments staged concurrently at Melbourne Park from January 31 to February 7, while a 250 event will be held in the second week of the Australian Open.

The Australian Open will start on February 8 after the ATP Tour confirmed its updated schedule for the first seven weeks of the 2021 season.

Uncertainty has surrounded next year's Australian Open due to the coronavirus pandemic – the grand slam typically starts on January 18 in Melbourne.

The Australian Open will now go ahead from February 8-21, three weeks later than usual, following the ATP Tour's announcement for men's tennis on Wednesday.

There will be three ATP warm-up events in Melbourne, including the ATP Cup from February 1-5.

The Adelaide International has been relocated to Melbourne and will run alongside an additional ATP 250 tournament in the city from January 31 to February 6.

Qualifying for the Australian Open will also be held outside of the country, with Doha, Qatar playing host from January 10-13.

Novak Djokovic is the reigning men's Australian Open champion, while Sofia Kenin claimed the 2020 women's crown at Melbourne Park.

Roger Federer dropped a retirement hint as he admitted he may have to miss the Australian Open.

The 20-time grand slam champion has not played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Melbourne grand slam at the start of this year.

Federer has twice undergone knee surgery since then, with the aim of playing again in 2021, but the Swiss superstar admitted he is behind the anticipated schedule in his recovery.

Speaking as he was named Switzerland's best sportsman of the last 70 years at the Sports Awards ceremony, the 39-year-old said such a moment of recognition would be an "unbelievable" end to his career, if he cannot get back on court.

"I would have hoped that I would be at 100 per cent by October. But I still am not today," Federer said, according to Swiss broadcaster SRF.

"It will be tight for the Australian Open."

Th Australian Open is currently due to run from January 18 to 31, although it may be delayed for a number of weeks due to quarantine issues affecting players amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Federer has won the Australian Open men's singles title six times.

"I wish I was further along, but at the same time I'm satisfied with where I am at the moment," he added.

Accepting his award, Federer said: "I stand there tonight with an incredibly good feeling and share that with all of you.

"I hope that there will be something to see with me next year. If not, then that's an unbelievable end point."

During his lay-off, Federer has seen long-time rival Rafael Nadal join him on 20 slam titles after achieving a record 13th French Open success.

Djokovic sits three behind the pair, having been disqualified during the US Open after hitting a ball that struck a lineswoman before losing to Nadal in the Roland Garros final.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is confident plans for next year's event will be finalised "very soon".

Uncertainty remains over the scheduled first grand slam of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The start of the Australian Open looks set to be pushed back by a week or two, having originally been scheduled to begin on January 18, amid questions about the players' travel and preparation.

In a statement, Tiley said details were close to being finalised, with reports on Tuesday having said the event could be cancelled.

"Tennis Australia continues to work closely and productively with the Victorian government and we are confident we will be in a position to finalise details for the Australian Open 2021 very soon," he said.

"We are also in constant communication with the global tennis community, including the Tours, the players and their teams, as we consult with them on plans for the event and how players can safely practise and prepare for a grand slam tournament under the Victorian government's proposed quarantine conditions.

"Understandably there has been public speculation on the various plans under consideration as well as the many confidential conversations that have taken place and our position remains clear – everything will require approval and agreement from the Victorian government before it can be confirmed.

"The protection and safety of the community remains paramount in the discussions.

"Our team continues to work on delivering a fantastic – and safe – AO 2021 for the players, the fans, our partners and our staff. We look forward to announcing more details, including when tickets will go on sale, very soon."

Victoria has been without a new coronavirus case since October 30.

The Australian Open has started in January in every year since 1987, but Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said last week next year's tournament was likely to be delayed by a week or two.

Juan Martin del Potro admitted he was struggling in his bid to return from knee surgery as he eyes next year's Olympics.

Del Potro, 32, last played competitively 17 months ago and underwent a third right knee surgery in August.

The 2009 US Open champion is still hoping to return, but admitted it had been challenging.

"I am having a hard time coming back. I still stand by the desire that I have to continue playing," Del Potro told ESPN on Friday.

"The reality is that it is difficult. I'm going to keep fighting as long as I feel like I want to continue."

He added: "Due to the pandemic, the Olympics Games are next year and I'm excited to be there.

"If I have to close my career, I think it would be to give myself an award to represent my country."

A bronze medallist in men's singles at the 2012 Olympics, Del Potro won silver in Rio four years later, and said he hoped to retire on the court.

The Argentinian also took time to remember the great Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday.

Del Potro recalled his meetings with Maradona during the 2016 Davis Cup final, which he helped Argentina win against Croatia in Zagreb.

"In that Davis Cup final, every night, on my own without anyone knowing, I saw him 10, 15 minutes before going to sleep," he said.

"He did it in private so that he doesn't disarm the team's structure."

Del Potro added: "He sent me a very nice message after winning and I gave him my racquet."

The 2021 Australian Open is likely to be pushed back, but only for a week or two.

Uncertainty has surrounded the scheduled first grand slam of next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports had suggested the Australian Open could start in March or April, instead of its scheduled January 18 beginning.

But Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said on Wednesday a delay of a week or two was looking likely.

"I think that's most likely, but it's not the only option," he told reporters, via the ABC.

This year's Wimbledon was cancelled and the US Open was played behind closed doors, while the French Open was delayed before allowing a limited number of spectators.

Victoria on Wednesday recorded its 26th consecutive day without a new coronavirus case.

Pakula confirmed players would be tested and contained in a bubble during the Australian Open.

"It's fair to say that Tennis Australia and the playing group have been encouraged to keep the total number of people coming in, not necessarily to a minimum, but to a lower number than would otherwise be the case," he said.

"People need to bear in mind that there will be an extremely rigorous testing regime that will apply to the tennis players both before they leave the port that they're coming from and when they arrive, and I would imagine consistently during the time that they're in their bubble."

Daniil Medvedev's triumph at the ATP Finals has earned public acclaim from Russia president Vladimir Putin, who said he "demonstrated great preparation, mastery and truly fighting spirit".

World number four Medvedev won a barnstorming final against Dominic Thiem in the last showpiece to be held at London's O2 Arena before the season-ending tournament moves to Turin in 2021.

Medvedev came from a set down to defeat the US Open champion - who had beaten him en route to glory at Flushing Meadows - to secure the biggest title of his career.

In doing so, Medvedev became the second Russian to win the event after Nikolay Davydenko in 2009.

Putin posted a telegram on the Kremlin's official website on Tuesday, part of which was quoted by Russian news agency TASS, to congratulate Medvedev.

"You went through the whole ATP Finals tournament brilliantly and, in one breath, you demonstrated great preparation, mastery and truly fighting spirit in beautiful and tense matches," the telegram read. 

"Your victory continues great traditions of the Russian tennis school."

Medvedev and Thiem each scored wins over both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to reach Sunday's showpiece.

Speaking on Monday, Medvedev said it will be difficult for any of the chasing pack to become world number one while ever those two greats are still playing.

"It's still a long way to get to the top of the line [in the ATP rankings]," Medvedev told TASS.

"You have to complete the season better than all the rest to become the world's number one. Sometimes 8,000 points can be sufficient but on other occasions 12,000 points are not enough. 

"It all depends on me; the more tournaments that I’ll have like in Paris and London, the more chances I’ll get to top of the ATP rankings."

Andy Murray believes the time is right for seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton to be knighted.

Britain's two-time Wimbledon champion was given the honour at the height of his career, with the announcement made in December 2016.

And although Murray feels sport stars should perhaps not be at the front of the queue for such recognition, Murray sees Hamilton as an outstanding candidate based on his driving prowess.

The 35-year-old Mercedes superstar has just wrapped up another championship, matching Michael Schumacher's record haul of titles and overtaking the German great for the most race wins in F1.

Reports have claimed Hamilton will be made a knight in the New Year Honours, following in the footsteps of fellow British motorsport greats Jackie Stewart and the late Stirling Moss.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Murray said: "I'm not necessarily all for sportspeople being given knighthoods for what we do.

"But in terms of what he's achieved as an athlete, of course he deserves it. As a sportsperson, he's one of the most successful sportspeople in the history of the country.

"He's an amazing, amazing driver, he supports some great causes as well, away from the racing track.

"So yeah, I would say he definitely deserves it in terms of his achievements."

Speaking to presenter Piers Morgan on the ITV breakfast show, Murray was reminded that Hamilton is also a fan of Premier League football club Arsenal.

Murray and Morgan are also supporters of the Gunners, and the Scot joked that Hamilton's choice of team also justified royal recognition.

"That's a good reason to give him one as well," said Murray.

Daniil Medvedev expressed his desire for more matches against Dominic Thiem on the biggest stages after revelling in one of his "best victories" to become ATP Finals champion.

The Russian won a thriller at London's O2 Arena, coming from behind to win 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 to overcome an opponent who had defeated him in the semi-finals of the US Open.

Medvedev and Thiem had beaten Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic respectively to reach Sunday's showpiece, which marked the last in the English capital before Turin becomes host to the Finals in 2021.

The world number four had nothing but praise for Thiem, who went on to win the title at Flushing Meadows, when addressing his win after the match.

"First of all, what a match. Maybe one of my best victories," the champion said.

"I mean, two hours 42, three sets against an amazing player, Dominic congrats for what you achieved in your career, I think your name is already in the history books of tennis.

"So, it's amazing, you won a grand slam this year. I mean, you're playing unbelievable. I hope we're going to have many more matches to come on the big occasions like this - semi-final of the US Open and final here - so congrats to you and your team. You're doing an amazing job."

The respect was returned by Thiem, who was typically classy in defeat and reflected on a season that saw him make his major breakthrough.

"Of course, I'm disappointed, but at the same time I'm also proud of the performance, of all the week," he said.

"Daniil really deserves it. Amazing match, congrats for, in general, another great year as well.

"Amazing month, November, with the Bercy [Paris Masters], title here and I hope we have many great matches to come. It was a pleasure today even though I lost.

"And thanks also to my team for all the support - without the crowd it's even more important.

"Thanks a lot, we had an unbelievable year as well. Thanks for taking care of me in all the bubbles and I can't wait for other great years with all of you."

Daniil Medvedev roared back from a set down to defeat Dominic Thiem and become the ATP Finals champion after a titanic tussle at the O2 Arena in London.

Medvedev earned the biggest prize of his career in a 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 triumph in the last final held in London before the tournament moves to Turin next year.

It was a fitting end to the English capital's run as Medvedev produced a valiant fight back on the back of 37 winners to become the second Russian ATP Finals victor, becoming the first to defeat the world's top three players to do so in the process on Sunday.

Medvedev, who defeated Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, gains a measure of revenge for his last-four defeat to eventual champion Thiem at the US Open, with his Austrian opponent – a winner over Novak Djokovic on Saturday – losing the showpiece match for the second year running.

Thiem staved off a break point with a huge ace in his mammoth first service game but there was little to separate two players in great form in a slog of a first set.

In the end it was a costly lapse in concentration where Medvedev dropped five straight points on serve – one a glorious reverse forehand drop-shot from Thiem that preceded an ugly double fault for the break.

Thiem, who matched his opponent with 12 winners in the first set, clinched the opener with a fortuitous net chord that brought a wry smile from Medvedev.

Medvedev was more grimacing than smiling as he had to dig deep on serve in games five and seven, though, as the quality on display from both players increased.

But the Russian held his nerve to force the breaker and, after losing the first two points, reeled off seven in a row to force the decider against Thiem.

With the momentum shifting, Thiem survived from 0-40 in game three but – after saving a couple more break points – finally slipped behind at his next service game when an audacious backhand was followed by a clinical volley by Medvedev. 

Thiem refused to yield and made his opponent fight for every point but a huge serve from Medvedev was unreturnable to leave the 2019 US Open runner-up celebrating.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Medvedev – 37/30
Thiem – 29/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Medvedev – 12/3
Thiem – 6/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Medvedev – 1/9
Thiem – 1/4

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley hopes plans for the "summer of tennis" are finalised soon.

Huge uncertainty continues to surround the expected first grand slam of 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports have suggested all lead-up tournaments could be moved to Victoria, while players are apparently being denied entry to Australia until January.

On Saturday, reports said the Australian Open could be moved from its usual January start to either March or April.

In a statement on Sunday, Tiley said works were continuing – but he appeared to suggest plans were for the event to be held in summer, which runs from December through February in Australia.

"Tennis Australia is doing everything we can to finalise the summer of tennis as soon as possible," he said.

"Our intention is to deliver a summer in conditions that allow the players to prepare and perform at their best and the fans to enjoy their efforts – all in an environment that is safe for all concerned.

"We are working closely with the Victorian Government on a plan that takes into account the needs of the players, fans, our partners and staff, and is of major benefit to the Victorian and Australian economy.

"We are continuing our urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and are confident we will have decisions soon.

"Tennis Australia is acutely aware of the need for certainty, but also conscious of reaching a solution with the State Government that ensures the safety of the entire community.

"We look forward to announcing our ticket on-sale date as soon as all arrangements with the relevant authorities are finalising and we have more information on crowd sizes. We anticipate this on-sale date will be within the next two weeks.

"We can't wait for the summer and look forward to bringing you more details as soon as we possibly can."

The Australian Open has started in January in every year since 1987.

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