MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will join Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in playing a pre-Australian Open warm-up exhibition in Adelaide after serving their quarantine in the South Australian city, Tennis Australia (TA) said on Saturday.
The “A Day at the Drive” event will take place at the city’s Memorial Drive Tennis Centre on Jan. 29, a week before the delayed Grand Slam gets underway at Melbourne Park.
Australian Open tournament director Steve Tiley had already flagged that Ash Barty and Simona Halep would be among the eight players involved in the exhibition with U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem now confirmed as the third man.
Adelaide will also host a WTA tour 500 level event, the Adelaide International, in the week after the Australian Open as TA look to give players every opportunity to compete after travelling Down Under and isolating for two weeks.
“These two tournaments are a real coup for South Australia,” state Premier Steven Marshall said in a news release.
“This is a real show of support for the way that South Australia has managed the COVID-19 pandemic and underlines our ability to attract world-class events.”
Other warm-up tournaments, including a shortened version of the ATP Cup involving Nadal, Djokovic and Thiem, will be held in Melbourne before the Australian Open.
Hundreds of players and entourages will arrive in Australia from Jan. 15 and undergo a mandatory quarantine as part of COVID-19 health protocols for the Asia-Pacific Grand Slam.
The players will be allowed five hours a day outside their hotel rooms to train during the mandatory isolation.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Lincoln Feast.)
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