Herwig Straka, manager of Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem has revealed that the governing body of men’s tennis isn’t happy with the “Australian Open situation”.
In an interview to newspaper Kronen Zeitung, Straka, who is also the director of the ATP 500 event in Vienna, said that the ATP is upset with the rules that have been put in place for the year’s first Grand Slam event next year.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley recently wrote to players across the men’s women’s circuits, apprising them of the tournament’s rules.
Incidentally, the ATP and the WTA had been in talks with Tennis Australia and top administrative officials in Victoria, the host state, to work out a mutually-agreeable arrangement, especially with regard to quarantine rules for the Australian Open.
While February 8 has been officially announced as the start date for the event, Straka claimed that there is no word yet on whether the ATP and Tennis Australia have reached a consensus on the tournament rules.
Not much on the quarantine rules for the event is out in the public domain either.
“The ATP Tour usually differs from entities like Tennis Australia or the WTA. First you analyze everything and then you make a decision.
It is true that an agreement on the Australian Open is getting closer and closer, but there is nothing official,” Thiem’s manager said.
Straka added that the present situation around the Australian Open has only raised more doubts in the players’ minds on the quarantine rules.
“One of the things that creates a lot of doubts is the quarantine. There is nothing official yet, much less a program for 2021,” he said.
He added that it would make more sense to hold a couple of events inside the bubble for players to adapt to the situation in time for the Australian Open.
“I am one of those who think that starting the season with a Grand Slam is not ideal for anyone.
I think it would be nice if a couple of tournaments could be played inside that bubble so that the athletes acquire a competitive pace,” Straka said.
He added that the ATP is not happy that Tiley went public with a statement that he had already briefed players on the rules which it has not yet consented to.
“The ATP is not at all happy with Tiley after he went public with a statement sent to players. It seems they rushed forward without worrying about other things,” Straka said.
He added that while Tiley is anxious that the event goes well, he needs to pay attention to details.
“Craig Tiley is under pressure if things don’t go well at the next Australian Open, but he needs to have more attention,” Straka said.
It remains to be seen if tough quarantine rules would prompt top players to withdraw from the tournament.