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Tennis: WTA event added for quarantining players in Melbourne

In this March 21, 2019 file photo, Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, left, talks with her coach Sylvain Bruneau during her match against Irina Camelia Begu, of Romania, at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- The Women's Tennis Association has announced a new tournament in Melbourne for players undergoing a 14-day quarantine without an opportunity to practice ahead of the Australian Open beginning Feb. 8.

    The new tournament will be staged from Feb. 3-7 and will cater for players who have not been able to train. A total of 72 players remain in hard lockdown after three chartered flights to the Australian Open returned positive COVID-19 cases.

    Two ATP men's tournaments will be pushed back 24 hours to start on Feb. 1 and the ATP Cup will get underway a day later.

    WTA players in hard quarantine include former Australian Open champions Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber as well as 2019 U.S. Open winner Bianca Andreescu.

    "This has been a particularly challenging time for the athletes in hard lockdown and we, along with the WTA and ATP, aim to do everything we can to help," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said Sunday.

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