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.
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.
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.
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.