An extra WTA event for players serving the 14-day hard lockdowns in Melbourne is to be added to the calendar ahead of the Australian Open start on February 8.

The new tournament will run alongside two WTA 500 events, two men’s ATP 250 tournaments and the men’s ATP Cup.

It is likely to be scheduled for a February 2 start and run until a day before the Open begins on February 8.

A total of 72 players are in hard lockdown after three chartered flights for players to the Australia returned positive COVID-19 cases.

Affected players include former Australian Open champions Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu.

Confined to their rooms and unable to train, the new event has been seen as an olive branch to those confined players.