‘We celebrate success’: Australian Open boss hopes fans will treat Djokovic fairly
Tiley was also widely criticized for his role in how the Djokovic saga played out, but said on Thursday that he and his Tennis Australia team did the best they could.
“The first thing is that we are always focused on tomorrow, and we are putting on a massive event, and it is the biggest annual sporting event in the southern hemisphere and the biggest event in Australia,” he said.
“And at that time of year, the biggest event in the world, so we’re very proud of that fact, not just the people who come, but also the people who watch.
“Everyone went through a tough time during COVID… We were able to put the event on both halves [in 2021 and 2022] and the support from the Victorian government was magnificent, and we showcased the sport to the world.
“We were the first to do it both times, globally, and that’s why I look back with more pride… Yes, a lot happened around him, but it wasn’t unexpected because it was no environment. of us have ever experienced.
“When we look back, I think we did our best and … I can guarantee you the same thing will happen today and the same thing will happen tomorrow.”
Djokovic’s decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 meant he was unable to play in certain events this year, notably the Australian and US Opens, and cost him the world No. 1 ranking, now held by teen superstar Carlos Alcaraz. .
Alcaraz is among a major young uprising in the sport that has Tiley predicting a changing of the guard at next year’s event.
“I think this could be the year…I’ve been around long enough to know that the Australian Open brings out and uncovers the greats of the future,” he said.
“If you see [Djokovic’s] form – it can be argued that he is the best player in the world. He is an incredible tennis player and this is the place where he has won the most…he will be looking forward to not letting the young guns on the men’s side take away his title.”
Tiley also hailed Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup success over the past fortnight, with Alex de Minaur leading the nation to a semi-final clash with Croatia on Saturday from 1am AEDT.
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