Craig Tiley: 'Leading stars Roger Federer, Serena Williams to compete in Melbourne'

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Craig Tiley: 'Leading stars Roger Federer, Serena Williams to compete in Melbourne'

The Australian Open is three and a half months away, and the organizers have been working hard to prepare everything for the biggest annual sporting event down under. This January, the crowd of 821,000 passed the Melbourne Park gates, and that will not be challenged in 2021, with the coronavirus reducing the number of spectators to 25 or 50%.

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley is confident the event would still be a great one, saying all the leading tennis stars will come to Melbourne, including the seven-time champion Serena Williams and the six-time winner Roger Federer.

Players will gather in Australia in December, pass two-week quarantine and prepare for the busy Australian summer, with many tournaments and entertaining stuff for both the players and crowd. "We've been talking to the players every single week.

We're going to have six weeks of tennis. We'll have more events than we've ever had before. We're going to start around the middle of December when all the players will come in; they'll do two weeks of quarantine in cities around Australia, and those two weeks we're creating a bubble where they'll be able to be in it from the hotel to the courts in a training environment.

Also, we've worked out, with the requirements on physical distancing, we've still got to stay in specific parameters, and we've worked out what can be in the arena. We can have crowds from anywhere between 25 and 50 percent of what we've had before.

It's a very outdoor site. The site's size and the way we can physically distance people, we'll enjoy having quite a few crowds.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams will play in Melbourne next January.

There's still going to be music, there's going to be food, we'll have the big screens up to where people can sit and watch, but the safety of the community will be a priority for us, as well as for the players.

Of course, it's not going to be the same because we've got to make sure we physically distance and be safe. Roger Federer confirmed this morning publicly he'll be here. Serena Williams will be here trying to get Margaret Court's record, so we're excited about the players that will be here and what we'll put up.

For them to go ahead and be successful in the environment they're in, in countries where the infection rate is high, and the US Open, of course, was with no crowds, the French Open with a small one, we've learned a lot.

We've been in touch with them a lot, and we're certainly going to take away a lot of their successes and put them into January. We're 'all go' for what we think will be a great start to the year. There'll be more events, more tennis for people to watch not only in Australia but around the world," Craig Tiley said.