Tennis Boss Opens up on Preferential Treatment for Djokovic, Nadal, Serena and Others at Australian Open 2021 Bubble

Published 01/19/2021, 11:44 PM EST
Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after winning the match point during their final singles match daring day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)


Since the players have arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2021 Australian Open, there has been a barrage of complaints received by the CEO of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley. Many athletes have raised concerns over the poor quality of food while 72 players are under a hard lockdown because their fellow passengers tested COVID-19 positive upon arrival.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain after the ATP Cup Final that Serbia won in 3 sets on day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Recently, Tiley organized a video conference with over 500 players to address their complaints. A particular issue raised by players was the preferential treatment given to the top-players by allowing them to stay and train in Adelaide. While over 500 players are quarantining in Melbourne, top-ranked players like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and many others are currently in Adelaide.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Are top-players getting preferential treatment at the 2021 Australian Open?

Post the conference, Tiley admitted that the top-players had a slight advantage over the other players but justified his statement by saying that it’s the nature of the business for a top-ranked player to get a better deal.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“I get the feeling it is perceived as preferential treatment. But they’re the top players in the world. My general rule is if you’re at the top of the game, a Grand Slam champion, it’s just the nature of the business. You are going to get a better deal,” Tiley said.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia greets his opponent at the end of the Men’s Singles Final against Dominic Thiem of Austria on day fourteen of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

However, Tiley mentioned the players have adapted well as per the quarantine protocols. The tennis boss acknowledged that it’s been a tough week for him and his entire team to administer the event amidst a global pandemic, but is confident of having a successful Australian Open.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

After the two-week quarantine period, the warm-up tournaments will begin just a week prior to the Australian Open. Once again, Nadal and Djokovic will lead their respective national team at the 2021 ATP Cup.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Kshitij Tayal

390 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT