The tennis crowd: players thrive with fans back in Australia

Spain’s Rafael Nadal signs autographs for fans on Rod Laver Arena during the ATP Cup in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. The Australian Open site has the feel of a major this week with six tournaments being contested at Melbourne Park. Usually the tuneup tournaments Down Under are spread around the capital cities and some of the biggest stars have time off competitive play in the week before the first Grand Slam of the season. Not this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the entire preparation for the Australian Open.