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Australian Open Will Stay In Melbourne Despite Sydney’s Efforts

T
ennis Australia CEO, Craig Tiley, told AAP the Australian Open (AO) will remain in Melbourne as it is the only city in Australia equipped to host the competition, despite efforts from the New South Wales (NSW) Government to relocate the event.

“For Sydney to be considered for the AO, there’d need to be an upgrade in facilities,” Tiley said.

“At the moment we have a great global event in the ATP Cup at Sydney Olympic Park, but we also need a facility upgrade to continue growing that event as a major international brand.

“We’ve been advocating for some time for a city-based venue in Sydney in partnership with the NSW Government.

“It’s all hands-on deck to work together to get us through this challenging situation,” he said, discussing Melbourne being in stage-four lockdown due to COVID-19 and plans still remaining to host the AO from January 18-31 in 2021.

“Our focus is to get through the next few weeks and our team is in full planning mode to deliver a great Australian Open in Melbourne.

“At this stage we’re working on a scenario where we’ll have a potential reduction in crowds, and physical distancing and biosecurity protocols in place.

“We are also in constant contact with state and federal government on how we can safely bring in the players.

“One of the many great things about the Australian Open is that there’s a global desire to be a host city and we’re really proud of how we’ve grown the event over the years to become such an attractive property.

“We obviously have great facilities in Melbourne and the AO is contracted and committed to Melbourne Park,” Tiley said.

Tiley’s comments came after NSW deputy premier, John Barilaro, told 2GB Radio Sydney would proudly host major Victorian sporting events including the Australian Open, AFL grand final, and the spring racing carnival.

“Some of these events down in Victoria are national events hosted in Victoria,” Barilaro said.

“It’s important for the economy, important for the Australian psyche when it comes to sport.

“Absolutely we should be able to work with Victorians to find ways to make sure these all happen, these events are far too important in this crisis to not have,” he said.