“It’s always a threat,” Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia build on newer initiatives to retain popularity amidst Saudi Initiatives

Tiley believes Tennis Australia will do more for fans and players next year.


“It’s always a threat,” Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia build on newer initiatives to retain popularity amidst Saudi Initiatives

Craig Tiley (Via Open Source/X)

Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia have promised to keep spending money on the Australian Open to ward off threats from Saudi Arabia and China. The Melbourne major, which remains the crown jewel on the nation’s annual sporting calendar, has also extended its contract with the Victorian government to ensure they keep hosting tournaments till at least 2046.

The Australian Open has become a billion-dollar event and has raised expectations of fans since turning the competition to 15 days in January, plus its precursor qualifying stage. With the likes of Coco Gauff, Aryna Sabalenka, 10-time winner Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, and Daniil Medvedev all playing in this year’s semifinals, made the tournaments more exciting and international wheeling.

Craig Tiley, speaking to AAP about laying out his plan to retain the Open amid an increasing threat from the cashed-up Saudis, said:

We’ll never take it for granted. Let me tell you why it’s always a threat: because anyone could decide tomorrow that ‘we have an event with $100m in prize money and I’m going to put the top 32 players and everyone’s guaranteed to make $2m’.
Craig Tiley (Via Open Source/X)

Tiley further continued,

So when the premier said the Australian [Open] was under threat, it’s not under threat to be moved as much as it’s under threat that something at the same time goes past it. That’s why we always have to invest in this growth, invest in infrastructure on the precinct, keep evolving and developing. We’ve got a very aggressive growth strategy.

The Melbourne major event, coupled with the thrilling tennis contests, offered live entertainment, children’s playgrounds with zip-lining, water slides, and all manner of amusing activities. This year’s event also attracted a Grand Slam record 1.1 million fans with around half-a-billion dollars generated.

Tennis Australia aiming for more next year

Craig Tiley believes Tennis Australia will do more for fans and players next year. The tournament which drew more than 80,000 additional spectators for the first time in a century due to starting on Sunday has been lauded as the highest in a Grand Slam event.

Tennis fans at Australian Open (Image Credit: The Australian)
Tennis fans at the Australian Open (Image Credit: The Australian)

Tiley said:

We pretty much invested all of our profit into making sure that we put on the show that we put on for the players and the fans. But we also made sure that we can distribute enough funds to our member associations to help grow the game with overheads and a program that helps athletes develop.

With Tennis Australia began to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community rather than the Australian Day, allowing fans more freedom of movement to the extent some players complained about intoxicated crowds. Nevertheless, that didn’t hinder the competition’s success after its conclusion on Sunday.

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