Tiley: 2023 AO will put TA back in black

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Novak Djokovic will be back as Craig Tiley pledges to put Tennis Australia "back in the black" with a bumper 2023 Australian Open.


After emptying its cash reserves of $80 million and taking out a $40 million loan to stage the COVID-19-ravaged 2021 event, TA also lost money after only having a 50 per cent crowd capacity for this year's Omicron Open.

But Tiley is confident TA's coffers will be replenished again after three turbulent years, believing January's latest edition at Melbourne Park will be among the best ever.

"We'll get back in the black this year and it will be a very quick turnaround in my view," Tiley told AAP.

"Obviously there's three big buckets of our revenue.

"There's media and we've already hit our targets on that.

"There's sponsorship and we expect to hit our targets on that and there's ticketing and hospitality and you don't know until you have the event.

"You've got to have 14 days of good weather and people have to buy tickets. Good matches, Aussies doing well. All that stuff.

"But it's tracking ahead of where we expected it to be and it's tracking ahead of our best year." 

Tiley said having a full player list including nine-times champion Djokovic, who confirmed overnight his Australian visa ban had been overturned, was also a game changer for TA and the season-opening grand slam.

"We were in a big hole after the 2021 event," Tiley said.

"Then we negotiated with the Victorian government to extend our contract and they paid for that extension and in 2022 we have a pretty good year all things considered.

"Even though we paid north of $40 million for biosecurity measures and travelling and all that, we still had a pretty good year financially.

"We had crowds and all that so we rebounded a fair bit in 2022. We tightened our belt. People took pay cuts and we put a few mitigating measures in to protect ourselves and rebounded fairly quickly.

"Not to the point it needed to be, but we're going to issue our financial statements shortly after the AO and they're going to be okay and then we're expecting to have full rebound in 2023."

Tiley was under intense pressure to step down as Open boss following his involvement in Djokovic's visa fiasco last summer after the Serb was booted out of Australia for attempting to gain entry while not vaccinated against COVID-19.

But he's ridden out the storm and has no plans of going anywhere any time soon as he prepares for his 16th Australian Open as tournament director.

"My attitude on length of tenure is if you're energised, you're still innovating, creating and you're still challenging your team and they're challenging you and you have a board that endorses your leadership, then you keep going," Tiley said.

"If the business is growing and it's succeeding and flourishing, you keep doing it.

"When all of those things stop happening or you lose energy or it's time for a change or the business flounders or does really badly, then it's always good to have a change.

"But it's a two-way street and a choice and I'm very energised about our next phase of growth and development.

"I think COVID took some time off the acceleration of growth that we planned so we had to take a couple of steps back now to get back on track."

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