However, there is one element of the upcoming tournament, set to begin on February 8, that will at least give the players some sense of normalcy.
As contractors put the finishing touches on Melbourne Park, Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula said crowds would be at about 50 per cent of previous years, with 390,000 people expected over the two weeks. A crowd of 30,000 will be able to watch the matches everyday in the first eight days.
For certain players, like defending champion Sofia Kenin, it cannot be understated just how much of a boost a noisy and energetic crowd can provide to their game at crucial moments in a match.
"I feel like I am playing well and am ready to go".
"Feeding off that energy, exchanging that great passion and joy that I have for the sport and the fans have for the sport". No one saw it. "I was going through a couple of off-court things", he said. Also for the fans, they obviously miss seeing their favorite players play and they obviously want to be there and support their favorite players. I'm mostly excited. Basically, I have, like, some kind of amount of stress, but it's [a] normal amount. I'm from Canberra. Honestly, I think it was the best part of the world during everything.
"So, Australia right now has, the last I heard, zero cases of COVID". Finally having that atmosphere, finally bringing some positivity to the game.
"I've seen a few of them this morning and contrary to what some players said 10 days ago, the majority of them - 99.9 percent - are absolutely happy to be out and very appreciative of our efforts to protect them". All players to participate in the competition have gone through a mandatory 14 -day quarantine.
Adelaide certainly hinted at what was to come in Australia, as the top three men and women-along with the active player who owns the most Major titles, Serena Williams-launched the first tennis jamboree of 2021 with a power-packed exhibition event. In December, tens of thousands of Australian citizens and permanent residents were unable to return home due to the country's strict worldwide arrival caps.
World No 1 Ashleigh Barty on Sunday tempered rising expectations of breaking her country's 43-year Australian Open drought, preferring to simply enjoy her long-awaited comeback.
"I worked extremely hard in the off-season", he said. "But I'm obviously grateful for starters to Tennis Australia, to the Australian government for allowing us to be here. I didn't really miss the game at all".
There is one other WTA tournament scheduled only for those players who were in hard lockdown. "Nobody really knows who is in form and who is not", he said.
"Drawing on the recollections from final Australian summer season, they're nice recollections".
Barty reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park for the first time previous year on the back of rabid fans desperate for a local champion to be anointed. "I feel like we're here and well prepared".