Tennis Australia CEO speaks out on Novak Djokovic row

Serbia's Novak Djokovic takes a breather

The Tennis Australia chief, Craig Tiley, has broken his silence on the Novak Djokovic situation, explaining that the situation the Serbian finds himself in is based on “contradictory information.”

The reigning Australian Open champion is currently being detained and has been told to stay put at Melbourne’s Park Hotel which houses refugees and asylum seekers after he was refused entry into the country due to a mix-up with his visa and scrutiny over his reasons to be granted a medical exemption.

However, the 34-year-old appealed the decision and he is awaiting his hearing which is scheduled for Monday, despite attempts made by the Australian government to push it to Wednesday for after the Australian Open draw has been finalised.

Although it’s been revealed the Tennis Australia told the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation that whether the season opening Grand Slam could go ahead or not would be dependent on if players who hadn’t been fully vaccinated would be allowed into the country, Tiley has refused to accept that the blame for the Djokovic situation lies with him.

“We’re not going to lay the blame on anyone because there’s much contradictory information the whole time,” Tiley told 9News.

“Every single week we were talking to home affairs, we were talking to all parts of government to ensure that one, we were doing the right thing and we were on the right process with these exemptions, but knowing also that everyone coming in had to be vaccinated.

“The conflicting information is because of the challenging environment – we are in a very challenging environment.”

Due to the mixed messages Tennis Australia have been sending out; demanding players must be fully vaccinated but then telling the government that the viability of the Australian Open depended on letting non vaccinated players in, the federal government have blamed the sport’s governing body but Tiley has remained adamant that no-one is to blame.

He said: “I’m not going to blame anyone.

“All I’m going to say is we know what we know, we know what we have in front of us and we’re going to do the best job we can to do what we do to bring these players in.

“The majority of them are in a position (to play the Australian Open) because we’ve got to this point – I would like to see him (Djokovic) play the Australian Open.”

The decision on whether the nine time Australian Open winner will be able to remain in the country and therefore be allowed to play in the season opening Grand Slam will be made in his visa hearing on Monday.