The buzz and excitement is palpable as tennis is set to return to our screens in just under ten days. In somewhat peculiar circumstances, the opening week of the ATP tour season will kick off in North America and Europe, headlined by two ATP 250s –ATP Delray Beach & Antalya, which will be played in the week of January 5-13th. Both tournaments will run concurrently in the same week on hard courts.
Delray Beach Open: Four Former Champions Set to Compete in Florida
The ATP Delray Beach Open will welcome back four former champions including its defending champion from 2020, Reilly Opelka, who served a tournament-record 99 aces en route to his second career title. The towering American will be joined by fellow countrymen Frances Tiafoe (winner in 2018) and Sam Querrey (winner in 2016), and Kei Nishikori of Japan who won the event as an 18-year-old in 2008.
Milos Raonic, the World No.14, is the highest entrant in the field, and will bid to win the title at the fourth attempt. The big-serving Canadian recorded an impressive 24 match wins in a truncated 2020 season and attained his highest year-end ranking in over three years. Raonic, who reached the final in Delray in 2017, is in the midst of a five-year title drought. (He last won a title in Brisbane in 2016, beating Roger Federer.)
Former World No.1 Andy Murray has received a wild card and will make his tournament debut. The Scotsman underwent hip resurfacing surgery in January 2019 and won his first title since 2017 in Antwerp last year. Murray did miss a huge chunk of 2020 season due to hip complications, but is optimistic of the upcoming season.
Cristian Garin, John Isner, and 2019 runner-up Dan Evans are also part of 21-man entry list. The full list also appears on the tournament’s website.
ATP250 Delray Beach Open entry list (from tournament website) pic.twitter.com/bbYsh44bLV
— Michal Samulski (@MichalSamulski) December 23, 2020
Antalya Open: Berrettini Leads Field In Turkey’s Resort City
The ATP has issued a one-year license for the Antalya Open to operate as a hard-court event in 2021 season. Since the tournament’s inception in 2017, the tournament has been played on grass in the run-up to Wimbledon. But following cancellations of the early season tournaments in Australia and Asia, the ATP Antalya Open was slotted to fill in the void and serve as a preparatory tournament for the Australian Open.
ATP Antalya entry list 👇 pic.twitter.com/AykPBn1EpC
— Luca Fiorino (@FiorinoLuca) December 22, 2020
World No.10 Matteo Berrettini will lead the pack in what appears to be a strong field. Berrettini is not the only Italian in the current entry list. He will be joined by fellow compatriots Fabio Fognini, Jannik Sinner, Marco Cecchinato, Stefano Travaglia, and Salvatore Caruso.
Two-time ATP tour champion Borna Coric and enigmatic Frenchman Benoit Paire are also set to appear at the tournament.
Main Photo from Getty.