Australian Open chief says ‘thanks, but no thanks’ after NSW offers to host 2021 Grand Slam

Shahida Jacobs

Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley insists they are “committed” to hosting the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park despite offers from New South Wales to stage the Grand Slam.

With Victoria currently struggling with a surge in coronavirus cases, New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro confirmed on Friday that he had written to sports bodies and officials in the neighbouring state, offering to stage major sporting events.

Besides the Australian Open, Melbourne traditionally hosts the Boxing Day Test match (cricket), Australian Grand Prix (F1) and Australian Motocycle Grand Prix (MotoGP), among other things.

“Some of these events down in Victoria are national events hosted in Victoria,” Barilaro told 2GB radio.

“It’s important for the economy, important for the Australian psyche when it comes to sport.

“Absolutely we should be able to work with Victorians to find ways to make sure these all happen, these events are far too important in this crisis to not have.”

However, TA chief and Australian Open Tournament Director Tiley says they are pressing ahead with plans to host the 2021 hard-court Grand Slam in Melbourne.

“Our focus is to get through the next few weeks and our team is in full planning mode to deliver a great Australian Open in Melbourne,” he said in a statement to Reuters.

“We obviously have great facilities in Melbourne and the AO is contracted and committed to Melbourne Park.”

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