The newest WTA 500 event this week is absolutely stacked with talent. (Getty)

The new year has begun and with it has come the start of the 2021 season. Though things are far from normal, three tournaments are being held around the world: Delray Beach (ATP 250), Antalya (ATP 250) and Abu Dhabi (WTA 500).

Before this year, the only pro tennis played in the United Arab Emirates was the annual World Tennis Championship held each December. It had showcased men and women exhibition matches since 2009, and now is the proud location of a significant WTA event. 

So here is what you need to know about the newest WTA event on the calendar. 


The tournament is being played at the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre in Abu Dhabi, which is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The Middle East is a great halfway point for players traveling to Australia (the qualifying draws for the first major of the year are being held in Doha and Dubai). 

The dates are a little unusual with main draw action running through January 13 (next Wednesday). 

Entry List

It's a very top heavy field as most WTA players outside of the Top 100 will be in Dubai for the Australian Open qualifying draw, which starts Sunday. 

The main draw is led by Top 10 stars Sofia Kenin, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka.

There's also former Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza, Jelena Ostapenko and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

And more stars including Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina, Elise Mertens and Marketa Vondrousova.  

Bubble Life

Like every tournament since the tours restarted in August, Abu Dhabi will be held in a bubble environment. Players have quarantined in a hotel, but don't feel bad for them because the views are simply spectacular.

The draws have been released with main draw action beginning on Wednesday.