Australian Open boss Craig Tiley revealed that he received “death threats” during the Novak Djokovic visa saga. The controversy stemmed from Djokovic’s attempts to enter Australia to participate in the Australian Open despite vaccine and visa-related issues. Tiley faced significant backlash and threats over his role in handling the situation.
After 10 long days in Australia and attempts to get his visa back, Djokovic lost his battle and he was deported from the country.
“Well, I had death threats and had to be under security but I think, again, it’s internal, self-talk and you have a choice on what that self-talk is. If I’m making a difference and making tough decisions, there’s going to be some criticism… You know we’re not running a hotel, we’re not there to please everyone and were in a state where there were 270 days of lockdown. We were the first Major sporting event to fly athletes from around the world into one city… We were still able to deliver the event and the next year, we started the event on the cusp of Omicron, which was the new variant,” Tiley said on the Rock n Roll Tennis Podcast. Also read: Lindsay Davenport will be the next US captain for the Billie Jean King Cup
Tennis Australia, the organization in charge of all tennis-related activities in Australia, is led by Tiley. He oversees the Australian Open as director as well. The native of South Africa began his career in tennis as a college sports coach in America. Prior to returning to the NCAA system, he spent a few years coaching his nation’s Davis Cup team. He started working with Tennis Australia in 2005 as the Director of Player Development. In 2013 he became the CEO.
One of Tiley’s most challenging tasks during his lengthy stint as Tennis Australia’s executive director was hosting the Australian Open during the epidemic years.
It was made even more challenging by the whole Djokovic scandal in 2022. He received criticism from all sides. Speaking on the Rock’n’Roll Tennis podcast, Tiley claimed he discovered a lot about himself and that he felt no anxiety or stress. Although he claimed to have been in a hotel at the time, he remembered the media being around his house for 14 days. He disclosed that his family had moved and sold the home after receiving threats of death. Also read: Who is Jennifer Brady Boyfriend? Is Jennifer Brady single or married?
He received threats from Djokovic’s supporters in addition to criticism from the tennis and sporting communities. Watching their idol experience the embarrassment of being held in custody like a criminal would have undoubtedly enraged them. They were already inconsolable about being unable to witness him play. Although the Djokovic saga will always be a stain on his record.