Tiley says he will not resign, denies Tennis Australia paid legal fees to Djokovic

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley takes off his mask during the Australian Open tennis championship draw in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 13, 2022. Mark Baker/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

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MELBOURNE, Jan. 20 (Reuters) – Controversial Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Thursday that he would not resign over the Novak Djokovic saga and denied that Tennis Australia (TA) paid the Serb’s legal and travel costs.

Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday night, hours after a federal court rejected his bid to remain in the country to play at the tournament where he hoped to win a record 21st Grand Slam title. read more

In his first interview since the world number one was removed from Australia, Tiley dodged questions about Tennis Australia’s involvement in trying to get Djokovic into the country at all.

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“We’ve already answered those questions and now we’re just focusing today on delivering a great event,” the South African, who is also CEO of Tennis Australia, told Channel 9 in Melbourne Park.

In an earlier interview during the saga with Channel 9, which owns the broadcasting rights to the tournament, Tiley had defended Tennis Australia’s role, blaming conflicting and rapidly changing government advice. read more

Tiley was booed earlier on Thursday when he first appeared on court during the tournament to hand over a bouquet to Australian player Sam Stosur after her final singles match at the Grand Slam.

Two days after the Tennis Australia board released a statement “praising” him for his organization of the event, Tiley was asked if he would resign. read more

“No,” he said. “We recently released a statement and I am very focused on putting on a great event.”

He also responded to reports in local media that Tennis Australia had paid for Djokovic’s legal fees, his trip to Melbourne from Dubai and a house in the city that the world’s number one was not taking advantage of.

“I’ve seen those reports,” he said, “we don’t really go into the details of the financial arrangements we have with the players. Those reports are just not true.”

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly, written by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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