Craig Tiley has no plans to resign as Tennis Australia boss and says all questions about the Novak Djokovic saga have been answered.
Tiley was jeered by fans who vented their fury at the governing body on day four of the Australian Open as the TA chief executive made a rare on-court appearance to hand retiring great Samantha Stosur a bouquet of flowers.
The ugly scene unfolded amid reports that unvaccinated Djokovic is considering suing the Australian government for “ill treatment” after he had his visa cancelled and was expelled from the Open.
On Sunday, the world number 1 men’s tennis player was deported and flew back to his native Serbia, where he has been fiercely defended by government officials and adoring fans.
Meanwhile, Australian Open boss Tiley has kept a low profile at Melbourne Park this year and is yet to front the full media to address questions about the saga, which has cast a dark shadow over the so-called “happy slam”.
TA on Tuesday night issued a statement saying it “deeply regrets” how the messy affair had affected all of the other players, but did not once mention Djokovic by name.
Tiley did a brief interview with the Nine Network, as host broadcaster, on Thursday and delivered a flat “no” when asked if he will consider resigning.
“We’ve put a statement out recently and I’m very focused today on delivering a great event,” Tiley said.
“We’ve already addressed those [Djokovic] questions and really now, today, we’re just focused on delivering day four and delivering a great event.”
Tiley rejected media reports that TA is paying Djokovic’s travel expenses and legal costs for his court hearings, saying “those reports are simply untrue”.
The Open’s COVID-19 testing program has also come under fire, with several players — including outspoken local Bernard Tomic — questioning the fact that tests are optional for competitors during the tournament.
Frenchman Ugo Humbert revealed on Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and men’s third seed Alexander Zverev believes more players at the tournament have contracted the virus without being detected.
Tiley defended the protocols, which had all players tested on arrival in Australia and again between days five and seven of their stay, with players who show symptoms facing mandatory testing.
“So far it’s worked well and it’s been successful,” Tiley said.
“We’re in a position where this is day four and we’re going to go into another 10 days of some great tennis.
“We’re continuing with not only that testing program but also the physical distancing and the wearing of masks — you can see in the player area all the players have masks on.
“We’re constantly reminding them around hygiene and how they stay safe and not only [to] keep themselves safe but ensure that we keep Victorians safe, because that’s been our goal from the beginning.”
Stosur bowed out after a 6-2, 6-2 loss to 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and said she did not notice the fans jeering Tiley.
“Yeah, look, maybe not the time or place for that,” Stosur said.
“Yeah, a little bit harsh. I think, look, it’s an unfortunate situation that unfolded obviously over the last few weeks.
“I think now it’s behind us and that’s going to be a good thing.
“I think if everyone could go back and change things, they probably would. Hopefully, nothing like that will ever happen again in the future.”