‘It will be tough to play tennis again in 2020,’ says Tennis Australia chief

Wimbledon grass

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley believes it “is going to be tough” for tennis to “come back this year” due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tennis has been placed on a hiatus after the powers that be suspended all tournaments until June 7 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

That period is likely to be extended while the All England Club will reportedly announce later this week that Wimbledon 2020 will be cancelled.

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Although some people are still hopeful that the season will resume later in the year, Tiley says it is unlikely we will see any times during the second half of the campaign.

“My personal view is I think for tennis to come back this year is going to be tough,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“It relies on global travel, and I think that’s probably the last thing that’s going to come back. I think sports that have a domestic focus are in a strong position and sports that have a global focus are more challenged.”

Should the season somehow resume, there could be a lot of chopping and changing of tournaments not only during the final few months of the 2020 calendar but also the 2021 campaign.

Tiley, who is also Australian Open tournament director, says they are hopeful that next year’s season-opening Grand Slam will go ahead as planned, but they need to prepare “for the worst and hope for the best”.

“We’re looking at that right now,” he said. “But we’re planning running the AO 2021 and planning on having a great season.

“We’ve got to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Tomorrow morning we [could] wake up and there is some miracle cure or some concoction of drugs that really helps, or they’re on a path to a vaccine. [But] from all the literature you read, it doesn’t seem likely in the immediate future.

“What I want to do as an organisation [is] I want to plan for it being really difficult for people to be travelling this year from country to country. I think within the country will be fine. [When] you can travel globally is when tennis can come back, from a pro level. From a local level, we can start right away and that’s what we would be focused on at the beginning.”

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