“No Negative Feedback”: Ashleigh Barty Lauds Top Australian Open Organizer for ‘Smooth’ Event

Published 04/01/2021, 11:13 AM EDT
Mar 27, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Ashleigh Barty of Australia waves to the crowd after her match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia (not pictured) in the third round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Women’s World Number 1 Ashleigh Barty has praised Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley for the groundwork he put in to host the Australian Open successfully in the middle of a raging pandemic.

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Despite copping a lot of criticism over the tough quarantine rules, Tiley stayed up hours consulting medical experts and soliciting the support of the local administration in the host city of Melbourne to ensure a Covid-free tournament.

Ashleigh Barty says Craig Tiley put his trust in medical experts and government officials to ensure a safe Australian Open

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Tiley’s challenging job was rendered even tougher when some positive cases came to light days ahead of the tournament. Over 70 participating players were forced into hard quarantine without the option of practice after some crew members in chartered flights that they traveled on returned positive tests.

Then, a week or so into the tournament, Team Tiley had to go back on its decision to allow spectators for matches after the host city went into a surprise five-day lockdown in the wake of some more Covid cases.

However, he managed to clear all hurdles and navigate challenges to give the tennis world a full and unimpeded Australian Open.

Mar 27, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Ashleigh Barty of Australia hits a forehand against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia (not pictured) in the third round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Lauding Tiley’s role in shepherding the event through the pandemic, Barty said he took the help of the best medical minds and government officials to make the tournament safe for players and officials.

“There is no secret the amount of work that he put in behind the scenes,” the World Number 1 said, adding that he put a lot of trust in the “health experts” and solicited the support of the Victorian government to ensure that the event was run “smoothly”.

The 2019 French Open champion said the tournament turned out to be “fantastic” and “there was no negative feedback from players or anything like that”.

Ashleigh Barty will play Elina Svitolina for a place in Miami Open final

Complementing Tiley on a job well done, Barty said, “…there is certainly no hiding the fact how hard he worked to try to get that across the line for us”.

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The Aussie, meanwhile, came through a testing quarter-final clash against Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka at the Miami Open on Tuesday.

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She will play Ukrainian Elina Svitolina for a place in the final on Friday.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

858 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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