Craig Tiley, the CEO of Tennis Australia says he has been looking at the ongoing US Open in New York in order to get a better understanding of what to expect at the Australian Open in January. Tiley is confident of going ahead with the 2021 edition although the state of Victoria has seen a rise in the number of coronavirus cases and lockdown measures have been imposed in the state.
The US Open has seen one player test positive so far - but several others who were in contact with the player had to be placed in a 'bubble within the bubble.' While one of those players, Kristina Mladenovic lashed out at the United States Tennis Association, saying she felt like a prisoner and wanted her freedom back - another player Adrian Mannarino, who lost on Friday, said he said that he was thankful to the USTA for the efforts that they made to enable him to remain in the tournament and compete.
TA Chief Craig Tiley looking at lessons from US Open for 2021 Australian Open
Speaking to Wide World of Sports, Tiley says, "I think the one thing we've learned is how difficult it is to have no infections. You can follow all the steps, physical distancing, masks, washing hands, it all helps, but it doesn't guarantee no positive results.
Kiki Mladenovic, who made the comments after her match, she's one of our favourites. She's a lovely person, it must have been painful for her because she doesn't talk like that normally. I definitely feel for her, and I think it's a case of being not used to how vigilant we need to be.
In the case of the bubble within a bubble, that would have been the advice of the medical experts. The USTA as an organisation wouldn't have made that call." Tiley added that he was looking at the ongoing US Open in order to review the processes that would be put in place for the upcoming Australian Open.
"The amount of money and energy you need to put in, in order to create a safe environment, has been completely underestimated. We've got to prepare for that and make the changes. The other things we've learned is that it's really hard when someone is asymptomatic, and they're infected but you don't know.
We'll need to review the frequency of testing, but I also think in the next four months there'll be different testing technology which will help us." Tiley added that the ATP Cup, which was held for the first time this year, is proposed to be held and that the Australian Open will have a qualifying event as well.
The 2021 Australian Open is scheduled to take place from January 18 to January 31 in Melbourne. (Image Credit - Australian Open)