Although there are still several months to go, the process of organizing the Australian Open 2021 has already begun. Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley believes that the best players in the world should travel without problems to Australia, even if it will be necessary to wait for the development of the health situation.
The Happy Slam will learn many lessons from the US Open, which was the first Grand Slam to be played in a bubble. The New York Slam was shaken by the news of Benoit Paire's COVID-19 positivity, who was unable to play the tournament due to the strict protocol agreed by the USTA with the city of New York.
The 2020 Australian Open had a record turnout in 2020, with 812,174 people crossing the gates of Melbourne Park last January. With the restrictions due to the health emergency, the amount of public present will have to be significantly reduced.
Tiley on Roger Federer
"I think the one thing we've learned is how difficult it is to have no infections," Craig Tiley told Wide World of Sports. "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." Crowd favourites Roger Federer and Serena Williams will both be 39 when the AO rolls around.
"I've known Roger for a long time, and I think we'll have a couple more years of Roger," Tiley predicted. "I'll certainly use that as motivation to encourage him to keep playing until we can give him a proper send off in front of a full crowd.
I don't know if it will have much impact, but I'll give it a go!" He also commented on the ATP Cup 2021: "Every state is entitled to make their own decisions, and I hope the leaders that make those decisions understand the impact their decisions have, either opening or closing their borders.
I'm confident we'll have the ATP Cup. What cities we have it in remains to be seen. If there's a state government that wants to work with us to boost their economy, we've got open arms and open doors. If there's a state government that chooses not to do that, we'll go somewhere else."