Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has conceded the tournament’s status on the tour isn’t set in stone like some may think.
The Victorian Government and Tennis Australia have a contract for the Australian Open to take place at Melbourne Park until at least the end of 2039, in a new agreement that was inked days before this year’s tournament.
But as other countries continue to eye Australia’s biggest annual international sporting event, Tiley explained that Tennis Australia’s insistence to do as much as possible to entice the players down under every year is one of the key reasons why the event continues to hold it’s place as one of the four Grand Slams.
“It always is (a threat for the event to be moved overseas),” he said on SEN’s Dwayne’s World.
“Even though we have a contract until 2039 for the government, it doesn’t mean that if we didn’t have the event for a few years and another country put in a lot of money for a big event that it’s easy to play at, then they (top players) wouldn’t come here.
“The only reason we get the players here is because we offer a lot of prizemoney and we spend a lot of time pursuing them to come.
“The other Grand Slams they played last year, they didn’t have to fly so far or do 14 days of quarantine, so we have to overcome those and get the top players to play here.
Karolina Muchova’s shock three-set victory over world number one Ash Barty was overshadowed by a controversial medical time out the Czech 25th took, which she later admitted was for dizziness.
Barty was up a set and a break at the time when Muchova left the court and on the resumption of play, turned the match around.
Tiley admitted that he personally isn’t a fan of the medical time out rule and said an alternative interpretation could be considered.
“I’m not a big fan of the time out rule, but it’s the rule,” he said.
“It’s currently what the rule is, they players can lobby to have the rule change – the rule is open for interpretation and abuse so I think that could been looked at differently.”