Australian Open boss weighs in on criticism received over Novak Djokovic visa saga

Australian Open boss and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley insists the governing body of tennis in Australia did its best when asked about the Novak Djokovic saga. 

Before flying to Melbourne, Djokovic took to Instagram to announce that he was given a special medical exemption to compete at the Australian Open. 

But when Djokovic landed in Australia, he was met by the Australian authorities, who revoked his visa and detained him.

Throughout the Djokovic visa saga, Tennis Australia was receiving criticism, with some pointing fingers directly at Tiley for how he was handling the entire situation.

In a recent appearance on K1 television, Srdjan Djokovic said his son “did not go to Australia voluntarily” as he “had an agreement with Tennis Australia.”

Also, Srdjan Djokovic suggested that his son was set up as he added that everything changed once his son got onto the flight to Melbourne. 

Tiley on the criticism received following the Djokovic saga 

“The first thing is we’re always focused on tomorrow, and we’re running a massive event, and it is the largest annual sporting event in the southern hemisphere and the largest event in Australia. And at that time of year, the largest event in the world, so we’re very proud of that fact – not even just the people who come but the people who watch. Everyone went through a difficult time during COVID. We were able to put the event on both times [in 2021 and 2022] and the support of the Victorian government was magnificent, and we showcased sport to the world. We were the first to do it both times, globally, and so I look back at it more with pride. Yes, there were many things that happened around it, but it was not to be unexpected because it was an environment none of us had ever experienced. When we look back – I think we did our best and I can guarantee you that the same thing will happen today and the same thing will happen tomorrow,” Tiley said, per The Age. 

Last week, the Australian government revoked Djokovic’s three-year ban from entering the country.

Now, record nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic is set to return to the tournament in 2023.