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Australian Open could be hosted by Chinese city, Shanghai

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Australian Open in Melbourne
Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo by Minstry of Sport
  • China undertook extraordinary negotiations to host the Australian Open in Shanghai during the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Melbourne has a 23-year contract to host the tournament every year
  • Australian Open is cash-strapped following COVID-19 restrictions

Melbourne, the famous city in Australia hosting the Australian Open could lose its prestige of hosting the first Grand Slam of the year to Shanghai city in China.

China undertook extraordinary negotiations to host the Australian Open in Shanghai during the COVID-19 outbreak, but it never worked out. Despite signing a 23-year contract to stay in Melbourne, the cash-strapped league has been linked in recent years with a change of host city.

In the 15 months leading up to the postponed 2021 Australian Open, Tennis Australia depleted its cash reserves of $80 million. That resulted from player quarantine fees and Covid restrictions.

Long-running rumours suggested that Melbourne would lose its renowned festival. According to reports, Australian Open CEO Craig Tiley has talked with Sydney and Shanghai about shifting the tournament in 2020 and 2021.

Craig Tiley Australian Open

Craig Tiley Australian Open director. Photo by Stuff.co.nz

Since then, Melbourne has signed a contract to continue the competition till 2046. However, the financial situation deteriorated and “serious” talks with potential host cities were held. China might eventually still be considering a transition.

The Australian Open is reportedly making a valiant effort to keep up with fellow Grand Slams Wimbledon, the US Open, and the French Open, according to Australian broadcaster The Age. At Melbourne Park, Tiley wants a brand-new stadium and brand-new courts.

The 60-year-old is requesting additional money for the competition. Although up to £1 billion has been invested in renovating the Melbourne facilities, financial reserves are apparently now at nil.

The competition for 2023 starts on January 16. The main draw will be Novak Djokovic’s comeback after his dramatic deportation from Australia a year ago.

Now that rigorous restrictions have been eased, the Serb, who is unvaccinated against Covid, is permitted entry. According to Tiley, he and Djokovic have talked about a possible poor response from the Australian public in January.

Following the lifting of a ban from playing at the Australian Open, Djokovic says he will gift fans free tickets as he goes back to Melbourne in January 2023.

Australian Open welcomes him back after Immigration minister Alex Hawke lifted his three-year ban. Djokovic was in January 2022 deported from Australia over a visa mix-up and non-vaccination against Covid-19.

The Serbian will make his first trip back to Australia in January 2023. The 21-time Grand Slam winner made headlines when his visa was twice revoked ten months after landing in Melbourne.

Novak Djokovic

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic.[Credit/Skysports.com]

He then spent time in a hotel that served as a government detention facility before being forced to leave the nation the night before the Australian Open began.

Following his deportation, Djokovic automatically received a three-year ban from entering the country. However, he was able to appeal the decision. Hawke, in November 2022, announced that the ban had been lifted.

He said the 35-year-old would be given a temporary visa to compete at the Australian Open. And the Serbian is now planning to repay his Australian supporters.

Djokovic will purchase tickets to his matches as an expression of gratitude.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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