Australian Open 2020

Novak Djokovic deportation ‘doesn’t define’ Australian Open, boss reiterates

Craig Tiley doesn’t want Novak Djokovic’s deportation to mar the whole Australian Open and thinks “99.999% of everything was good.”

World number one Djokovic caused controversy in the lead up to the Australian Open when he had his medical exemption and visa cancelled upon arrival at the border.

Djokovic successfully fought the decision in court and had his visa reinstated, but Immigration Minister Alex Hawke took the executive decision to overturn the court’s hearing and the Serbian legend was deported just one day before the first Slam of the season.

The saga dragged on for 11 days and divided the world, with many supporting Djokovic’s actions and beliefs whilst others heavily criticised him.

Australian Open tournament director Tiley recently denied reports that Djokovic would be suing the Australian Government for $6 million ($4.3 million or £3.2 million) and confirmed Djokovic will be able to compete at the 2023 ‘Happy Slam’.

In an interview with Reuters, Tennis Australia chief executive Tiley said “in the lead-in there was meticulous planning. The one major challenge around the Djokovic situation doesn’t define everything that went on because 99.999% of everything was good.

“It has been very challenging and we’re delivering an event in the middle of a very infectious strain. The tennis has been awesome. It’s going to be a really good finish.

“I do have a regret and the regret I have is actually different. The regret is the distraction that this whole scenario in this challenging environment created.

“We had over 500 players that were here, were ready to play and wanted the focus back on the tennis and wanted the focus to go back on them. We all wanted to move on and put that behind us so we can focus on the tennis.

“Of course there’s going to be lessons that we can learn but we do that every year. We do a full review after the event which we’ll do again this year. We’ll see what we did well, we’ll see what we could improve as we plan to 2023.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.