Tennis Australia annual report shows $100 million loss due to COVID-19 restrictions, player quarantine for Australian Open

Tennis Australia sustained a net loss of more than $100 million in the 15 months around this year’s delayed — and COVID-19-affected — Australian Open, the body’s 2020-21 annual report showed.

The cost of flying players from around the world to Melbourne and quarantining them for two weeks in hotels put a huge financial burden on the organisers of the Grand Slam tournament.

Restricted crowds — as well as a snap lockdown that kept fans out of the Melbourne Park precinct altogether for five days — limited the opportunities to mitigate the losses through ticket sales and other on-site revenue generators.

The accounts showed Tennis Australia recorded a net loss of $100.02 million from July 30, 2020 to September 30 this year.

Tennis Australia’s cash reserves of $80 million were exhausted and the governing body took out a loan of $40 million to help get them through to next year’s tournament.

Despite concerns around the Omicron COVID-19 variant, Australia’s external and internal border controls are being slowly relaxed as vaccination rates in the country rise.

Organisers are hoping for a more normal Australian Open in 2022.

The tournament will return to its usual January slot after being put back to February last year, while all the stadium courts will be able to hold their full capacity.

Players and officials who have been vaccinated will be allowed to fly into Australia and compete without any quarantine requirement.

Reuters

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