“We’ve been talking to them [the players] every single week,” Tiley told Nine’s Wide World Of Sports.
“We’re going to have six weeks of tennis. In fact, we’ll have more tennis, more events than we’ve ever had before.
“We’re going to start around the middle of December when all the players will come in; they’ll do two weeks of quarantine that they’ll do in cities around Australia and those two weeks we’re creating a bubble where they’ll be able to be in it from the hotel to the courts in a training environment, not too dissimilar to the AFL and NRL and by then we expect the borders to be open.”
Retractable roofs at Melbourne Park will allow arenas to be classified as outdoor settings, which will mean more fans will be able to attend this year’s Open.
“Also we’ve worked out, with the requirements on physical distancing, we’ve still got to stay in certain parameters and we’ve worked out what that can be in the arena,” Tiley said.
“We can have crowds from anywhere between 25 and 50 per cent of what we’ve had before.
“It’s a very outdoor site. The size of the site and the way we can physically distance people, we’ll enjoy having quite a few crowds.”
While Tiley expects the usual carnival atmosphere at next year’s Open, he said the experience would no doubt be different.
“There’s still going to be music, there’s going to be food, we’ll have the big screens up where people can sit and watch but the safety of the community will be a priority for us, as well as for the players,” he said.
“Of course it’s not going to be the same because we’ve got to make sure we physically distance and be safe.
“Roger [Federer] this morning just confirmed this morning publicly he’ll be here, Serena Williams will be here trying to get Margaret Court’s record so we’re excited about the players that will be here and what we’ll put up.”
Tiley said he was encouraged by how the US and French Open tournaments have been able to proceed in the past month.
“For them to go ahead and be successful in the environment they’re in, in countries where the infection rate is really high, and the US Open of course was with no crowds, the French Open with small crowds, we’ve learnt a lot,” he said.
“We’ve been in touch with them a lot and we’re certainly going to take away a lot of their successes and put them into January. We’re ‘all go’ for what we think is going to be a great start to the year.
“There’ll be more events, more tennis for people to watch not only in Australia but around the world.”
The Victorian government’s public health team will have a big say in how crowds are controlled at major sporting events over the spring and summer.
The Victoria Racing Club has submitted a proposal to the government in the hope of hosting anywhere up to 10,000 people at next month’s Melbourne Cup, while Cricket Australia and the Melbourne Cricket Club are pushing for a crowd of up to 30,000 at the Boxing Day Test.
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.