The Australian Open 2021 will get underway amid the coronavirus pandemic that is still lingering on in the world. The tennis calendar, which was wrecked in 2020 due to the pandemic, continues to disrupt normal life but Tennis is starting to come back to normalcy. The build-up to the Australian Open has been chaotic, with the coronavirus cases in Victoria suddenly surging in the last couple of days. The tournament itself was under a cloud due to the pandemic after one worker at the hotel where the players were staying tested positive. All were in isolation for some time but with no new cases in Melbourne, the tournament will begin on February 8.
India’s Sumit Nagal will face Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday, February 9. Nagal is currently the world No. 139 in ATP men’s singles rankings while Berankis is ranked 72nd. Earlier this week, Nagal played Berankis at the Murray River Open earlier in his first competitive match in three months. The Lithuanian won 6-2, 6-2.
Sumit Nagal, who got a wild card entry to the event, is India’s only men’s singles representative at the Australian Open 2021. This will also be his first foray at the Australian major’s main draw after failing to make it through the qualifying rounds in 2018 and 2020. The Australian Open 2021 will be Nagal’s third Grand Slam. The 23-year-old Indian tennis player made a lasting impression at his debut Slam in the 2019 US Open, taking a set off tennis great Roger Federer. Last year, Sumit Nagal returned to the Flushing Meadows to win his opening match and become the first Indian since Somdev Devvarman to win a Grand Slam singles match.
In the second round, Nagal was ousted but not before giving a good account himself and pushing the then-world No. 3 Dominic Thiem hard in the second-round clash.
If Nagal gets past his first hurdle, he will either face Russia’s Karen Khachanov – current world No. 20 – or Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic in the second round.
Tennis Australia – the organisers of the tournament – conducted the official draws for the first Grand Slam event of 2021 on Friday. The draw was originally set to be held on Thursday but was moved back after a worker at one of the Melbourne hotels used to quarantine players tested positive for COVID-19.
Doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be the other Indians at this year’s Australian Open. The doubles draws, however, will be announced later. Women’s singles player Ankita Raina, who reached the third round of the Australian Open 2021 qualifiers, is in Melbourne as a lucky loser but didn’t feature in the women’s singles draw.
Sania Mirza has pulled out of the Australian Open, where she was expected to play a mixed doubles event with compatriot Rohan Bopanna and women’s doubles with Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok. She has to protect her calf from strain.
Australian Open schedule and time in India
Live broadcast of the Australian Open 2021 main draw matches start in India from 5:30 AM IST (Indian Standard Time) on Monday, February 8, and will run till Sunday, February 21.
Where to watch the Australian Open 2021 live in India?
Select Australian Open 2021 tennis matches will be telecast live on the Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD, Sony TEN 2 and Sony TEN 2 HD TV channels in India. It will also be aired in Hindi on Sony TEN 3 and Sony TEN 3 HD TV channels.
Live streaming of the Australian Open in India will be available on SonyLiv.