Local politicians have promised to further open the public purse to save the Australian Open for future generations.

Tournament TD Craig Tiley, something of a master strategist himself in the political arena, this week sounded the alarm that the first Grand Slam of the season is about to bust the budget.

The South African who has turned the major into a massive money-spinner said that cash reserves – due, of course, to COVID, are approaching nil from AUD 80 million (USD 56 million).

With the Melbourne Park grounds a near-permanent construction site over the past decade, the outcome might not be surprising.

Players have long called the event their favourite due to the never-ending perks, privileges and payouts they receive during the fortnight.

“It’s gone from $80m to zero, pretty much,” Tiley told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper. “Basically we’ve got to start building the cash reserve again.”

The boss is quick to play up threats from elsewhere – read: Middle East – to steal the event despite a contract which leaves the tournament in Melbourne until 2039.

The possibility is the perfect excuse to ask for additional millions to fund even further expansion on the city centre site.

“A lot of people will say, ‘Oh there is no need. We’ve just finished the redevelopment’,” Tiley said. “But you’ve got to do it now for the future … expansion will be needed.”

Elected officials appear happy to step in with more taxpayer funds to keep tennis bosses sweet.

“We’re not surprised that there will always be those seeking (the Open) from other countries and other states,” Victorian State police minister Anthony Carbines said.

“With over a billion dollars invested by our government in the Australian Open, both in infrastructure and supporting that event, we’ll continue to support the Australian Open and the team there in whatever they need.”

That promise might also include yet another stadium at a venue which already boasts three showcourts with moveable roofs.

“The Australian Open is not going anywhere and the best thing Victorians can do is get out there and show their support,” he said.


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