Australian Open chief confident 2022 major will stay in Melbourne, saying ‘we are going to make it work’
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley is confident the 2022 hard-court Grand Slam is going to take place in Melbourne, saying organisers are ready to “climb Mount Everest” again.
This year’s Australian Open was pushed back by three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic as organisers had to scramble to allow players, support staff and officials to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival on chartered flights Down Under.
The tournament was also played in front of reduced crowds while midway through the event there was a mini-lockdown in Victoria following Covid-19 cases.
Although Australia has started its vaccination rollout programme, the government believes the country’s borders will remain closed until the middle of 2022.
It has led to state broadcaster ABC reporting that the Australian Open could be moved to Dubai or Doha as players are reluctant to quarantine for 14 days again.
However, Tennis Australia chief executive Tiley insists they will “find a way”.
“We’re going to be here in Melbourne, we are going to make it work, it’s going to be in January,” the Tennis Australia chief executive told local media on Monday.
“We’re going to find a way to get the players here who are currently travelling the world in a bubble.
“We are the only country where quarantine is required. We’ve got a find a way to manage that and we will.”
Tiley concedes that they had to scale a mountain in order to stage the 2021 Australian Open successfully, but says they are ready to go through the same process to get the job done next year.
“The two enemies, mass gatherings and international travel, COVID doesn’t allow those two things to happen, and those are the pillars of our success,” he continued.
“Being able to get around that was a challenge. There’s lots of speculation about 2022, and it’s the same journey we are going to go on. It’s going to be a ride.
“We felt like we climbed Mount Everest, and unfortunately now we’ve found ourselves back at base camp. But the one positive thing is that we at least have a path because we have done it once.”
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