CEO Australian Open is hoping Roger Federer's participation in his tournament
Tiley doesn't close the door: "Federer? He's registered for the tournament for now."
Never say never. Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia and chief organizer of the Australian Open, is hoping for Roger Federer's participation in his tournament. Because of course everyone will be there, including Novak Djokovic, the all-time record holder of titles in Melbourne, and Rafa Nadal. But Roger is still Roger.
"Every tennis player in the world has made a commitment to be at the Australian Open," Tiley said.
"Of course being the beginning of the season anything can happen regarding the entry list. But all the best players in the world are entered. Including Federer." It's a pity that the Swiss phenomenon himself, just a week ago, underlined that it will be "very difficult" for him to be ready for the Australian Open, due to a recovery from the double knee operation that is proceeding much slower than expected. But hope springs eternal.
"He told us that February 8 was a better date for him in terms of preparing for the tournament," Tiley revealed to The Age.
"But a lot will depend on developments in his preparation over the next two to three weeks." In short, he, too, is waiting for a definitive answer from Roger. And he has to do his part, reassuring everyone that a glimmer of hope is still there. Even if, realistically, the chances of seeing the master from Basel go in search of his seventh Australian Open are very slim. Because it will be true that the circuit is changing so much, that there are so many new faces capable of arousing interest, but no one yet like Federer is capable of attracting the attention of the media and the public to a tennis tournament.
Tennis, you know, is a sport that never stops. And if usually during the off-season the main news concerns the change of coaches or which luxurious places the players have chosen to train, in this unusual period of COVID-19 the news focuses on which tournaments will be played and in which conditions. The latest news concerns the Australian Open, which will be held from February 8 to 21 according to Tennis Time. The Australian federation in fact announced yesterday the sale of tickets for the Slam, initially with a capacity reduced to 25%, for the three main stadiums: the Rod Laver Arena, the Margaret Court Arena and the John Cain Arena. Last year in Melbourne Park, during the two weeks, there was a record attendance of 812,174 people, almost 60,000 per day. According to this percentage, therefore, we expect for this edition about 15,000 people per day.
It should be remembered that the two major tournaments played last year in a pandemic situation were not able to afford such a high number of spectators. The US Open, in fact, was played behind closed doors, while Roland Garros in the autumn was able to accommodate around 1,000 people a day. The organizers of the Australian Slam decided to divide Melbourne Park into three sectors - each containing one of the three main stadiums - so as to circumscribe the public in certain areas; an idea similar to that initially proposed by the organizers of Roland Garros.
"Working closely with the government of the State of Victoria (whose capital is Melbourne, ed.) we hope to reach a position that will allow us to increase the number of spectators as we approach the start of the event," said Craig Tiley, director of the tournament, as reported by the ATP website. The plan put in place to reduce possible contagion is to sell carnets of up to six tickets per family, and all will be issued digitally to avoid unnecessary contact.