Tiley concedes 2021 Australian Open could be cancelled in ‘worst-case scenario’

andrewhendrie in News 07 May 2020
The Australian Open is preparing for the worst (AAP Image/Scott Barbour)


Emergency contingency plans are in place for the Australian Open in 2021 as the ‘Happy Slam’ prepares for the worst.

With the increasing likelihood that the remainder of the ATP and WTA tours will be cancelled in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic making international travel virtually impossible, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is busy developing various plans for the first Grand Slam of 2021.

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Scheduled for January, Tiley admits the ‘worst-case scenario is no AO”, however the Tennis Australia chief also believes there’s a decent chance the major will go ahead – but with some big tweaks.

“Our best-case scenario at this point is having an AO with players that we can get in here with quarantining techniques and Australian-only fans,” Tiley told AAP.

Having such a tournament go ahead would potentially mean some players might not be able to make the flight to Australia, depending on respective countries and their travel policies at the time.

Tiley says Tennis Australia has ‘modelled everything’ and have extensive plans for all scenarios.

“There’s four scenarios and we’ve modelled everything,” he said.

“We’ve modelled the times we have to make decisions, dates we have to make decisions, who it impacts, how it’s going to impact them.

“We’ve done that for 670 staff. We’ve done that for all of our partners – our media partners, our sponsors and for all the governments and places we rent facilities (from).

“And now we’re working on the international playing group and getting them to understand what each of those scenarios are and what it means for them and how we can action it.”

The news that Tennis Australia are preparing for the worst in regards to the 2021 Australian Open places further doubt that the U.S. Open and French Open – currently scheduled to be played almost back-to-back through September and October – can go ahead in the United States and France, which are two of the worst affected countries in the world.

Currently, all forms of tennis have been suspended until July 13 at the earliest. Various national bodies are in the midst of developing national domestic competitions for players to fill the void, including Tennis Australia, who hope to announce a new event in the coming weeks.