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Delray Beach Open moves to January

Annual tournament will now mark start of 2021 ATP Tour calendar
Delray Beach native Coco Gauff and University of Miami student Estela Perez-Somarriba play in Delray Beach Open exhibition match, Feb. 15, 2020
Posted at 11:08 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 16:07:49-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The Delray Beach Open is moving to January.

Originally scheduled for February, the 2021 Delray Beach Open will now take place Jan. 4-13 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.

It will mark the start of the 2021 professional tennis season.

The ATP Tour on Wednesday announced a revised schedule for the first seven weeks of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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"The city of Delray Beach, along with our tournament staff, worked very quickly to take advantage of this chance to play host to a season-opening event," tournament director Mark Baron said. "The players are eager to get back to playing in tournaments and we are happy to provide that opportunity. We look forward to welcoming them as well as our fans to a healthy and safely produced event in a few short weeks."

The change accommodates the rescheduling of the Australian Open, which was moved to Feb. 8-21.

Next month's Delray Beach Open will be the earliest the tournament has been held. The annual event has been played in February since 2005.

Reilly Opelka returns serve in 2020 Delray Beach Open
Reilly Opelka returns to Yoshihito Nishioka, of Japan, during the Delray Beach Open singles final tennis match, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Delray Beach, Fla. Opelka won 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

"These are unprecedented times and I would like to thank the tournament organizers for their willingness to adapt by moving into week one of the ATP Tour calendar at such short notice," ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said. "Providing playing opportunities for our players and ensuring our sport is delivered to fans worldwide in a safe and secure environment is our No. 1 priority."

Delray Beach resident Reilly Opelka won last year's tournament to claim his second career ATP Tour title. Twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan claimed their sixth doubles title in the Delray Beach Open before announcing their retirement in August.

"What's going on right now is a big to-do, and each year it just keeps getting better and better," Baron said.

After the Australian Open got pushed back, Baron and his team decided it was better to go early on in the tour. Still, committing to a socially distanced event, instead of 8,000 people, this year's tournament will host about 2,000 people.

"The economic impact to this city is so important," Baron said.