Craig Tiley is the man of the moment in the world of tennis. The no.1 of the Australian Open, who until a few days ago had had the great merit of knowing how to juggle with wisdom, competence and a healthy dose of diplomacy in the whirlwind of problems that the organization of the first slam tournament of the season had to face, yes he then had to come up against yet another obstacle, perhaps the biggest, that of the forced quarantine of a massive handful of tennis players.
Tiley has often been able to shield himself, mediating with political flair all the parties involved, that is the institutional and competitive ones, but lately he seems to have been partly overwhelmed by events. Lately some of his releases have generated a lot of debate, such as the last one which concerned the famous elite bubble of Adelaide, to which the best tennis players in the world were forced, albeit with softer measures, who will participate in an exhibition right in the city.
During his latest press conference, Tiley answered the question about the preferential treatment reserved for tennis players in Adelaide with an analysis that is perhaps correct in substance but questionable in form.
He said: "I have the feeling that this is perceived as preferential treatment. But they are still the best players in the world. My opinion is that if you are at the top of the ranking, if you are a Grand Slam champion, you will get a better deal.
This makes sense to me and is far from shocking." A sentence that throws further fuel on the fire especially after the annoyed reactions of many tennis players who have considered this different treatment particularly unfair, especially when compared to the (according to them) poor conditions they are forced to in Melbourne hotels.
Recall that the decision to hijack the exhibition in another city was dictated by the inability of Melbourne to host more than a certain number of people in preventive quarantine, which is why the director Tiley had to move to find a other location.
Australians angry at the arrival of the players
The players have landed in Australia, and we know that the problems have already begun, however, the protests of the local population precede after what happened with the flights.
Public opinion, as reported in many polls done by Australian newspapers, especially in the state of Victoria, is very negative about the conduct of the tournament, especially as Australians have done so much to have their country virus-free.
Many, in particular, have spoken of a double standard by the government, as flights have been organized for the players but at the same time there are Australian citizens who have been trying for months to repatriate without success and others who cannot return to Melbourne from another state such as New South Wales or Queensland.
Others, however, mentioned the strong risk of a new wave of the virus brought by the players and by the influx of the public that could put the sacrifices of the local population at risk. Furthermore, there is controversy that those returning to Australia must quarantine at a designated hotel, and despite the announcement of 20 new flights for those not yet repatriated, the number of people who can be re-admitted has been cut.
in various states, a fact that certainly does not arouse a great impression if you consider that for the Australian Open a thousand and more places have always been guaranteed. As we read on the Australian website The Age it is difficult to avoid the impression that tennis players come here at the expense of Australians stranded overseas and exposed to the pandemic.
It's also odd that Victoria could find places for tennis stars as her residents are stranded in NSW and Queensland due to its harsh border closures. Health Minister Martin Foley said he understood the frustration of the Victorians stranded in Sydney or Brisbane, which are still considered red zones by the state government, but he didn't want to risk another outbreak in the state of Victoria.