Adelaide: Venus Williams takes wildcard into new stop on tour calendar
Venus Williams (left) is due for a busy month of January 2020 as she is scheduled to play at Premier events in Brisbane and Sydney. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

Venus Williams, who had confirmed her participation at the 2020 Brisbane International last week, has now announced that she has taken a wildcard into the inaugural edition of the Adelaide International in preparation for the Australian Open. 2020 will mark the first time in Williams’ career where she competes at both Premier tournaments in the same year, also the largest tournaments on Australian soil outside the Australian Open.

Focus on Williams

Williams has not always been a regular in Australian tournaments in the lead-up to the season’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, usually preferring to play at the ASB Classic in Auckland where she’s made back-to-back finals in 2014 and 2015, winning the title in the latter. Her Sydney Olympics triumph in 2000 and Gold Coast title win in 2002 remain her only tournament victories down under, alongside two runner-up finishes at the Australian Open, in 2003 and very recently, 2017.

Since her resurgence from the period beginning 2014 until 2017, which culminated in five titles and two Grand Slam finalist showings, the American has struggled to match those results, struggling with physical issues and a knee injury after the US Open in 2018, and winning just one match across three tournaments at the backend of 2019. Now ranked outside the top 50 and with a packed schedule in the lead-up to the opening Grand Slam event of the new decade, Williams will look to pick up steam and make up for lost time.

Pre-Australian Open swing revamps

Ken Rosewall Arena, the main court at Sydney Olympic Park, which hosted the Sydney International until 2019. Photo: Steven Markham/Getty Images.
Ken Rosewall Arena, the main court at Sydney Olympic Park, which hosted the Sydney International until 2019, will host the ATP Cup beginning next year. Photo: Steven Markham/Getty Images.

The year 2020 will see major changes to the Australian phase of the calendar of both tours. The Sydney International has relocated to Adelaide to make way for the all-new ATP Cup, which is due to take place across three cities on the continent, namely, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth, which had also resulted in abolition of the Hopman Cup played in Perth.

2020 also marks Adelaide’s debut in hosting a women’s tennis event, and its return in hosting a tennis tournament since 2008, where the last men’s event here was held before it merged with the women’s event in Gold Coast in 2009 to become the Brisbane International. The all-new Adelaide tournament tournament is due to take place at the newly-built Memorial Drive Tennis Centre, located next to the Adelaide Oval on the northern bank of River Torrens.  

The two-week series of warm-up tournaments in Australia on the WTA calendar will now see tournaments held in Brisbane in the first week of the season, and in Adelaide and Hobart the following week. Meanwhile, on the ATP calendar, the changes will now see just two such tournaments, the ATP Cup held on the first week of the season, and the Adelaide International the week after. The Australian Open, which runs for a fortnight, closes out the Australian swing.