• Craig Tiley is confident that the Australian Open will push through if they’re allowed to have a training bubble
  • Tiley wants players to train inside the bubble while serving their two-week quarantine period
  • Novak Djokovic is the defending Australian Open champion

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Australian Open's tournament boss Craig Tiley says the games will go on -- depending on the players' training restrictions.

Tiley is hoping that Australia’s state and federal governments will relax border restrictions and at the same time allow them to establish a training bubble. If these are met, he is confident that the games will happen as planned, The Guardian reported.

“If a player has to quarantine and be stuck in a hotel for two weeks just before their season, that won’t happen,” Tiley told AAP on Thursday.

“You can’t ask players to quarantine for two weeks and then step out and be ready to play a grand slam,” Tiley continued.

Expectations have been set with the US Open and Roland Garros effectively conducting their matches under the unique circumstance of the global pandemic.

“Right now, the challenge we have is the borders are still closed,” he said.

“So we’ve got a plan on the basis that there will be all open borders. So we’re working with all state governments. We completely accept that everyone coming from overseas has got to have two weeks in quarantine,” the CEO of Tennis Australia continued.

Tiley compared their proposed bubble situation to the Australian Football League where players can go between their hotels and training facilities while quarantined. This will allow athletes to warm up and get into the proper condition before participating in a competitive match.

“What we are negotiating, or what we’re trying to have an agreement on, is that we set up a quarantine environment where they can train and go between the hotel and the courts in those two weeks,” he shared.

“That’s similar to the AFL. The difference we have with the AFL is we are bringing in players from overseas so the stakes are higher,” Tiley pointed out.

Novak Djokovic is the defending champion of the Australian Open as he went undefeated in the 2020 tournament. While there has been no confirmation yet of the Serbian’s participation, other big names such as Serena Williams and Roger Federer are already anticipated to play.

Smoke haze from unprecendented bushfires hovers over the Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday
Smoke haze from unprecendented bushfires hovers over the Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday AFP / William WEST