Craig Tiley may be inflaming player discontent behind the lockdown walls with his Wednesday comment that elite players deserve special treatment prior to the delayed start of the Australian Open.
The beleaguered TD might be wishing he’d been more circumspect after his pronouncement defending the “lockdown lite” available to top players quarantined one state over in Adelaide as opposed to Melbourne for the rest of the tennis world.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep are based in South Australia in order to play a January 29 exhibition.
That deal was struck as Melbourne in Victoria ran out of tennis quarantine spots for the Open starting on February 8.
But South African Tiley did not boost his case with the ATP-WTA rank and file as he defended the controversial two-speed quarantine system.
“A lot of people see it as something unfair and preferential treatment, but I have the general rule that if you are the best at something, if you are at the top of tennis in this case, you must have a better treatment – it’s the nature of the business,” Tiley told Nine.com, website of the host broadcaster.
“Moving them there is a great opportunity for Adelaide and it has allowed us to have more space in Melbourne to organize everything.”
The Adelaide system allows players outside training time, use of hotel exercise equipment and much larger support teams than the rest of the tournament field enjoys.
Djokovic has been shown on Australian TV out on his balcony with his team members, and also greeting fans who pass by below on the street in Australia’s City of Churches.
Tiley rubbed more salt in the wounds of the confined Melbourne masses:
“It’s true that they have better conditions because their room has a large terrace and some members of their team can be with them in training sessions.
“They have exercise equipment in their rooms and the availability of going to a gym.”