The 2021 Australian Open isn’t all that far away and there are some big names as the odds on favourites next year
The global sports calendar may have been ravaged in 2020 due to the pandemic. however, there are some signs that next year could be a lot more normal in terms of sporting events.
There will be postponed events from this year, such as the Olympics and football’s European Championships to watch, along with the regular slate of events which take place every year.
In terms of tennis tournaments, we are already in that part of the year where fans and players alike begin looking forward to the first Grand Slam of the year, which is, of course, the Australian Open. The 2020 Australian Open was played out as normal, without the shadow of a looming pandemic, but things will be very different in 2021.
Ensuring the safety of all
In that regard, it is interesting to note how preparations are going in Australia for hosting the tournament. According to Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley, it is coming up to ‘crunch time’ for making decisions on quarantine and safety protocols for the tournament.
In about two months, players and their entourages will begin arriving in Australia to start their two-week quarantine. With the Open being played in Melbourne, the Victorian state authorities need to still decide on plans and whether any special dispensation will be given to the athletes in terms of their quarantine and other restrictions.
The state’s Tourism, Sports and Events minister recently said that the quarantine requirements are the biggest question at the moment.
Regular visitors to Australia are required to stay in a hotel room for two weeks after arrival at the moment, but the tournament has requested that athletes arriving to participate in the Australian Open be allowed out to practice on court, as well as that they be allowed to all stay in the same hotel.
Tournaments getting hit
At the same time, there are also questions around the usual warm-up tournaments. The WTA holds tournaments in Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide, while the ATP Cup is held in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.
WTA and ATP events in Auckland, in neighbouring New Zealand, have been cancelled already, largely due to the delay in government approval. There are also attempts to have fans attend the Australian Open in some capacity, with the tournament organizers pushing for 25-50% capacity if possible.
Betting goes on
With all of these concerns and questions still to be resolved, it is a bit of a surprise to see that betting odds for the tournament have already begun to surface.
Of course, this is a bit of a relief for sports betting operators and fans, as there was nearly a six-month period earlier this year where there was virtually no sports activity anywhere around the world.
During that time, it was no surprise to see sports fans turn to alternative forms of entertainment, usually online, and playing online casino for real money was one of the most popular ones.
Since land-based casinos were also largely closed globally, online gambling became quite popular, and there were thousands of new players signing up onto these sites over that period.
It was a similar scenario for sports betting, with hardly any odds to offer, but it has been a better situation in recent months with top-level sports resuming all over the world.
The Australian Open favourites
In terms of the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic is the consensus favourite. The Serbian had a great 2020 on the way to winning the US Open and the Australian Open, and reached the final of the French Open.
He was beaten there by Rafael Nadal, which was the Spaniard’s 13th French Open title, and 20th Grand Slam. That moved him level with Roger Federer and he is second on most bookies’ lists of favourites.
Federer, who has not played any tennis since January since having two surgeries on his knee, is third, despite being 39 years old.
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