Tiley On 2021 AO: ‘Heaven And Earth Will Be Moved To Make It Work’

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

The banner headline earlier this week in Melbourne’s The Age newspaper said it all: “Heaven and earth will be moved to keep Oz Open in Melbourne.” It drew upon a quote from Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley, which expressed his feeling toward doing everything in his power to ensure that the 2021 Australian Open goes on as scheduled next January in Melbourne despite preparing for the worst in these uncertain times.

After all, there is both history and tradition at stake.

In an interview with The Age‘s Sam McClure this week, Tiley said: “Heaven and earth will be moved to make it work in Melbourne. I don’t see any scenario possible where the Australian Open would move.”

Indeed, Tiley cannot see any situation in which the upcoming Australian Open would be held anywhere other than Melbourne Park. “Melbourne Park is a massive quarantine opportunity for us,” Tiley said. “The whole network and the whole hub being put next to the city, you can actually create a bubble over Melbourne Park to make it extremely safe. It will be world-leading.”

Tiley went on to say that he believes several top-line players will avoid the US Open in New York and the French Open in Paris and travel to Australia earlier than usual. Because of the timing and uncertainty of international travel, Tiley said it wouldn’t surprise him if some players come to Australia as early as November. And, he’ll welcome them with Open arms.

The bottom line, according to Tiley, is this: “You’re going to be in an environment where you feel safe, the sun is shining and most of them are coming from the northern hemisphere where it will be the middle of winter … and they can play right through until the end of January. Their view on the Australian summer is pretty buoyant.”

Dzumhur wins battle at Eastern European Championships

On Wednesday at the Eastern European Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, No. 107 Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia upset No. 33 Borna Coric of Croatia, 7-6 (2), 6-2, in one hour and 46 minutes on a hard court surface at the Tipsarevic Tennis Academy. After winning the opening set in a tie-break, Dzumhur broke Coric’s serve three times in the second set and closed out the match on his first match-point opportunity. Also, in an all-Serbian matchup, No. 32 Filip Krajinovic won by retirement over No. 80 Laslo Djere after taking the opening set 6-2.

Sabalenka and Anisimova added to Top Seed Open

World No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and No. 28 Amanda Anisimova from the United States have been added to the draw for the upcoming Top Seed Open, a WTA International hard court event in Lexington, Ky., that begins on August 10. It is the first U.S. tournament as part of the 2020 re-launch of the pro tennis tours.

Halep commits to Prague Open

The Prague Open, a WTA International event scheduled to begin on August 10, announced on Wednesday that World No. 2 Simona Halep will play in the clay court tournament. She will begin her 2020 restart the week before at the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy. Also, 332nd-ranked Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, who has been playing World TeamTennis this month for the Chicago Smash, has accepted a wild card entry into the Prague Open.

Serena invests in pro women’s soccer team

Serena Williams has been a pioneering athlete on the tennis court, a winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles. Now, she’s invested in a professional women’s soccer franchise, Angel City, which will begin competing in the NWSL in 2022.

Angel City, which will be based in Los Angeles, will be part-owned by a number of high-profile former U.S. women’s soccer stars, including: Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, Julie Foudy and Lauren Holiday. And, along with Williams, there are well-known celebrities such as Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Garner.

Williams has made it a family affair as her husband Alexis and daughter Olympia are also owners, too. In an Instagram post, Alexis noted: “I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group (majority women!) working to bring a women’s professional football club to Los Angeles. Chiefly, because I’m a fan of the game, but also because I believe there is massive potential for the sport and it’s been undervalued by too many people for far too long. 

“As someone who spends hours kicking around a football with my two-year-old daughter, I want her to have a front row seat to this revolution. I’m personally investing on behalf of my family because creating more opportunities in women’s sports is important to my wife @serenawilliams and me, and we want to be a part of making a better future for our daughter @olympiaohanian.”

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Disparities between men and women occur in all facets of entertainment, including sports media. The global sports fanbase is 50/50 men and women, yet female athletes receive just 4% of sports media coverage. And yet… US viewership of the 2019 Women’s World Cup final was 22% higher than the 2018 men’s final! After the unstoppable legacy of @USWNT, I was hungry to see and do more. ⚽️ That’s why I’m proud to help bring @weareangelcity to the City of Angels. This team is rewriting the playbook, and you can be a part of it. Welcome to the beginning. This is the kind of ambitious lead investing @Initialized is all about and we’re excited to announce this one-of-a-kind lifestyle, apparel, and sports organization. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group (majority women!) working to bring a women’s professional football club to Los Angeles. Chiefly, because I’m a fan of the game, but also because I believe there is massive potential for the sport and it’s been undervalued by too many people for far too long. As someone who spends hours kicking around a football with my two-year-old daughter, I want her to have a front row seat to this revolution. I’m personally investing on behalf of my family because creating more opportunities in women’s sports is important to my wife @serenawilliams and me, and we want to be a part of making a better future for our daughter @olympiaohanian #WeAreAngelCity

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Tennis Channel presenter weighs in on Citi Open

Brett Haber, a Tennis Channel presenter and longtime Washington, D.C.-area resident, shared his thoughts about Tuesday’s cancelation of the ATP 500 Citi Open from inside stadium court at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Haber was the primary commentator at last year’s Citi Open for Tennis Channel.

First, there’s practice …

… Then, there’s play

What they’re saying

During a recent interview with Sky Sports, World No. 10 David Goffin spoke rhapsodically about fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters. He said: “She is an amazing person in tennis, on the court and off the court, so I’m really happy she is coming back. It’s going to be a very tough challenge for her but if she feels OK and she wants to enjoy the game like the way she is practicing, then it looks like she is happy to do it. 

“It’s not because she has to, it’s because she wants to. She’s feeling great, she’s smiling when she is playing. She might not have any high expectations but she is doing it because she enjoys tennis and the competition.”

What they’re podcasting

Prakash Amritraj, former pro and now a Tennis Channel analyst as well as an actor, producer and fitness guru joins this week’s Match Point Canada podcast.

What they’re photographing

Ryan Loco has been spending the month as the official photographer for World TeamTennis. He posted on Twitter some of his latest shots:

What they’re sharing on social media

Rafael Nadal / Home away from home on his boat.

Mihaela Buzarnescu / Every day is tennis day!

Ekaterina Alexandrova / Dogs make any day better.