The Tennis Australia board has confirmed the organising body will “will review all aspects” of its preparation for this year’s summer of tennis in the aftermath of Novak Djokovic’s deportation.
Prior to the start of this week’s Australian Open tournament, Tennis Australia had come under fire over its role in managing Djokovic’s visa to enter the country, after the Serbian superstar used a medical exemption to bypass the country’s vaccination policy.
Djokovic, the current world No.1, was sent back home to Serbia yesterday morning following the federal court’s decision to uphold his visa cancellation.
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Responding to the matter, which had spanned nearly two weeks from the moment Djokovic touched down in Melbourne, the Tennis Australia board conceded the ordeal was a “significant distraction for everyone”.
While much criticism has landed with Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley, the board added that it commended him and his entire team’s effort.
“The board of Tennis Australia, supported by its member associations, would like to issue the following statement in relation to the Australian Open 2022,” the statement said.
“We would like to make clear from the outset that we respect the decision of the Immigration Minister and the finding of the Federal Court of Australia over the weekend.
“Australian Open 2022 has now commenced, and our priority has always been to put on one of the world’s greatest sporting events and ensure we are delivering the best possible experience for all our players, the fans, and the community. The Australian Open is a showcase of Melbourne and Australia and much loved by players from all over the world.
“Tennis Australia has been working closely with both the Federal and Victorian government for the past year to deliver a COVID safe Australian Open for the players, staff, and fans.
“Embarking on a major international sporting event during a global pandemic that continues to evolve and challenge us all, is profoundly demanding for all stakeholders.
“The board and member associations commend the Tennis Australia CEO and the entire Tennis Australia team for their hard work and dedication to delivering a spectacular summer of tennis.
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“As the Australian tennis family, we recognise that recent events have been a significant distraction for everyone, and we deeply regret the impact this had on all players.
“There are always lessons to learn, and we will review all aspects of our preparation and implementation to inform our planning – as we do every year. That process always starts once the Australian Open champions have lifted their trophies.
“Australia has a strong and proud tennis tradition, and it has been fantastic to see the crowds out cheering for the world’s best players in the lead up to and over the opening days of the Australian Open.
“We, like the players, and all tennis fans here and around the world, are keen for the focus to now be on the game we are all so passionate about.
“We are looking forward to a brilliant two weeks of tennis ahead.”
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