Australian Open boss denies reports that 2022 tournament will move overseas due to player protests
Australian Open boss denies reports that 2022 tournament will move overseas due to player protests

Fears Aus Open could move overseas

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has refuted a report the 2022 tournament could be moved overseas due to player issues with quarantine declaring it will be in Melbourne.

A report on Monday said that with border closures set to continue in to 2022, player disquiet with having to quarantine in Australia could force the tournament to be moved to Doha or Dubai.

It was reported players would not be willing to go into hard quarantine in Australia in order to compete, as they did this year.

This year, players have been able to operate in a bubble at tournaments around the world, where quarantine has not been required.

But Tiley, while aware of the challenges organisers face in navigating quarantine issues, was adamant the Australian Open would be staged in Melbourne.

"We're going to be here in Melbourne, we are going to make it work, it's going to be in January," Tiley said at a SportNXT launch on Monday morning.

 

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 he will."

Despite the fears raised, the state government is expected to keep the world class event on home soil.

Government minister Gabrielle Williams said she had not been briefed on the status of whether the international event would be moved, but said the state government would want to fight to keep the tournament in Melbourne.

"It's obviously a hugely important event for our city and one that I know we would be very keen to keep in Melbourne," Ms Williams said.

"We're in the midst still of a global pandemic and that's required us to the significant sacrifices."

 

When asked if it was entitled of international tennis players to think they're above quarantine, Ms Williams said: "We here in Australia have enjoyed comparatively very low rates of virus transmission and I think it's very clear that the Australian community, certainly the Victorian community want it to stay that way.

"I think it's fair to expect that anybody to be respectful and I think it's of the health concerns of our population and of the very unique circumstances we're in globally."

Tiley said all the experiences gained in putting on the Open in 2021, which was forced back two weeks and played without spectators early, would only help them stage the event this year.

"I learned a lot every single day, about managing uncertainty," he said.

"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.

 

"Being able to get around that was a challenge.

"There's lots of speculation about 2022, and it's 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 have done it once."

Australian Grand Prix chief executive Andrew Westacott was just as positive about the race going ahead in Melbourne later this year despite facing similar challenges with quarantine for drivers and teams.

"I'm always confident," he said.

"That's what we've got to do, we've got to find solutions."

The Grand Prix was the first sporting event cancelled in Australia last year when the pandemic broke out.

Sport Minister Martin Pakula has been contacted for comment.

Originally published as Fears Aus Open could move overseas



Mayor, Tully clash over conflict of interest issue

Premium Content Mayor, Tully clash over conflict of interest issue

The issue was raised by the LNP mayor about the Labor stalwart and party lines were...

Dress to impress: Cup fashion tips from a seasoned pro

Premium Content Dress to impress: Cup fashion tips from a seasoned pro

The Ipswich Cup Fashions on the Field contest is already drawing interest from...

Leading trainers, jockeys show faith in Ipswich’s big day

Premium Content Leading trainers, jockeys show faith in Ipswich’s big day

IT’S the major day on Ipswich’s racing calendar when some of Australia’s big guns...