Tennis Australia suffer $100 million net loss after Covid-19 hit Australian Open
The Covid-19 hampered Australian Open caused Tennis Australia to suffer a $100 million dollar net loss and forced them to take out a $40 million loan.
Tennis Australia’s latest annual report showed that they had sustained a net loss of more than $100 million Australian dollars ($71 million American dollars or £53 million pounds) in the 15 months surrounding the 2021 Australian Open. The 2021 ‘Happy Slam’ was first delayed and then heavily impacted by Covid-19.
Costs were incurred by flying players from all around the world into Melbourne on chartered flights and then placing them under mandatory hotel quarantine procedures for two weeks.
This was also compounded by the reduced capacities, as well as a lack of spectators and restricted crowds due to a sudden lockdown that prevented fans from attending Melbourne Park for five days. This in turn led to a decrease in ticket revenue and other sales that would have mitigated some of the costs.
The A$100 million figure eclipsed Tennis Australia’s cash reserves of A$80 million and forced them to take out a loan of A$40 million ($28 million US Dollars or £21 million pounds) to tide them through to the next year.
Despite the concerns raised by the newly-discovered Omicron Covid-19 variant, the Australian government continue to slowly relax both external and internal border controls as vaccination rates continue rise, but Tennis Australia knew there would be further challenges.
The tournament will be held in its regular slot of January, as opposed to being held in February like it was this year and will also be boosted by full capacity crowds.
However, unvaccinated players will still be unable to compete at the Australian Open. Amongst the possible notable absentees is World number one and 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, who remains coy on his vaccination status.
Tennis Australia’s decision to make vaccines mandatory was described by Djokovic’s father Srdjan as “blackmail”. To which Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula replied “it’s not about blackmail, it’s about it’s about your responsibility.”
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