Adelaide will host some of the world’s best tennis players in the lead-up to this year’s Australian Open.

Key points:

  • Tennis players are jetting into Australia ahead of the Australian Open
  • Some of them will undergo their 14-day quarantine in Adelaide
  • Some of the top players will participate in exhibition matches at Memorial Drive

Players from more than 100 countries will arrive into Australia on chartered flights funded by Tennis Australia before beginning their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

On Saturday, Tennis SA confirmed grand slam champions Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal would be two of the eight stars to play in a curtain raiser in Adelaide.

The event — dubbed A Day At The Drive — will be held at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre on January 29.

Williams and Nadal will be joined by Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka, along with two additional, unnamed players.

The players will arrive in Adelaide from January 14 and undertake mandatory quarantine for 14 days before their matches.

Tennis SA said two sessions would be held during the event with reduced spectator capacity, in line with government restrictions.

Organisers are hoping to welcome 4,000 spectators for each session.

Adelaide to host 50 players

With all lead-up tournaments being played in Melbourne this year due to COVID-19, the vast majority of other Australian Open players and their entourage will isolate in Melbourne.

But with 1,270 people arriving, Tennis Australia was forced to find an alternative location for some, with Victoria only allowing a certain number of people to be in hotel quarantine.

“We approached the South Australian Government about the possibility of them quarantining at least 50 people,” Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley told the Tennis Channel.

“The Premier there agreed to host 50 people in a quarantine bubble and have those players play an exhibition.

World number one Novak Djokovic playing in the French Open in October (Reuters: Christian Hartmann)

“So we chose — which is the best way to do it — the top three men and top three women and they’ll play an exhibition on January 29 and 30 and they’ll go to Adelaide and be able to quarantine.”

Women’s number one Ash Barty playing in last year’s Australian Open in Melbourne.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

Players in both Adelaide and Melbourne will be under the same quarantine conditions, granted five hours each day outside of their hotel room to train, with strict measures put in place.

Those in Adelaide will play exhibition matches across January 29 and 30, before tournaments commence in Melbourne on the 31st.

The first match of the Australian Open will be played on February 8.

Premier Steven Marshall said hosting the event would “showcase just how well South Australia has done with the coronavirus”.

“We have been working with Tennis Australia, SA Health and SA Police to be able to bring in a very small number of the top seeds to play a lead-up match at Memorial Drive,” he said.

“To have players of this calibre playing at Memorial Drive is an absolute win for local tennis fans and the South Australian public.

“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.”

Following the Australian Open, Memorial Drive will also host the Adelaide International WTA 500 event from February 22 to 27.