They were suggestions, not demands – Tiley defends Djokovic
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley discussed Novak Djokovic’s reported requests.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley defended Novak Djokovic, saying the world number one had provided “suggestions”, not demands.
With 72 players forced into quarantine for two weeks after being exposed to coronavirus on flights, Djokovic reportedly made demands regarding their conditions.
Among them, the eight-time Australian Open champion reportedly asked for players to be moved to private houses with tennis courts, with his requests rejected.
But Tiley played down the reports, saying Djokovic had simply made suggestions.
“Novak wrote a note, these weren’t demands, these were suggestions,” he told Channel 9 on Tuesday.
“But he too is understanding what two weeks of lockdown means.”
The world’s best tennis players are arriving, ready to fight for the first Grand Slam title of 2021. Before the battle can begin they must quarantine for 14 days, take daily COVID-19 tests, physically distance, and practice & train under strictly controlled COVIDSafe conditions. pic.twitter.com/XrJDmc9vCi
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2021
Tiley also backed the players despite reports and social media posts suggesting they were unhappy about being forced into quarantine.
“Last night we spent quite a bit of time with the playing group going through a number of different items because they’ve just been here for a few days getting used to this quarantine environment,” he said.
“I have to say on that call there were about 500 players and the vast majority are happy to be here, pleased to be here and really getting ready in the next two weeks to be able to get out and play in the lead-in events and then play the Australian Open on February 8.
“I think the reports we’re reading and the things we’re seeing doesn’t represent the entire playing group. For the most part, they’ve been pretty good.”
With the preparations of 72 players so far impacted by quarantine, there have been suggestions the Australian Open be changed to a best-of-three sets format in the men’s draw.
But Tiley said he had no plans to make such a drastic change.
“We’re a grand slam at the end of the day and right now three out of five sets for the men and two out of three sets for the women is the position we plan on sticking to, starting February 8,” he said.