Australian Open chief Craig Tiley reveals his biggest regret


Craig Tiley has again refused to accept any responsibility – or apportion blame elsewhere – for the Novak Djokovic visa scandal that has engulfed the Australian Open.

But the Open boss has revealed his one big regret over Tennis Australia’s handling of the whole affair.

The locker rooms inside that one-time “Happy Slam” aren’t so happy.

“The regret I have is (we have) 256 main-draw players, 256 qualifying players and the feedback we’re getting from them is that the environment here at the time was a distraction for them,” Tiley told AAP on Monday night.

“And so the regret I have is that the environment (resulting from the Djokovic saga) caused that distraction.

“And also not just for the players but everyone.

“So, yeah, that’s the regret I have and we’ll assess that and we’ll learn some lessons from it and make whatever adjustments or changes we need to make for 2023.”

Any changes, though, won’t include Tiley standing down from either of his positions as Open tournament director and TA chief executive amid concerns the twin roles were too big a responsibility for any one person to juggle.

“No, not at all,” he said when asked if he had too much on his plate.

“It’s the same job. To be clear on that – it’s one job.

“It’s one job because you’re running the company.”

As the blame game drags on and fingers continued to be pointed equally at Tiley, TA, the Victorian and federal governments, the Australian Border Force and Djokovic, the Open chief refused to be drawn on who was ultimately responsible for the mess.

“It’s fair to say that everyone was committed to doing the right thing to get the event up and running – and that includes all forms of government, ourselves,” he said.

“We’ve not once steered away from always trying to do the right thing and we’re at a point where we’ve achieved that.

“We’ve not once steered away from the safety of everyone.

“Yes, it has been a distraction for the players and of course there’s going to be lessons to be learned.

“But we’ve bounced back and delivered a great event so far.”

Asked if Djokovic deserved an apology from anyone after being led to believe he’d been granted the necessary paperwork – in the form of a medical exemption – to enter the country and the Australian Open, Tiley said: “I’m going to talk from TA’s point of view.

“There’ll be some lessons in this for us and probably starting from Tuesday of next week, we’ll definitely review everything that we’ve done, like we do every year.

“What have we done well? What didn’t we do well and then set it up for 2023.

“So looking at the future, we’ll make an assessment at the right time.

“But at this point in time we’re focused on getting on with the event and not be drawn into what happened.”


We’ve Already Come Too Far To End This Now.

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