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

January 20, 2021 10:14 am

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

Kshitij Tayal

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Based out of Delhi-NCR, he pursued his undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communications engineering. He has previously worked in the Business Development team at Zycus followed by a role of a Digital Marketer in a Gurgaon-based agency. Besides his passion for tennis, Kshitij is an avid reader and a fitness enthusiast.

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