American star Tennys Sandgren has slammed Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley following contentious remarks about preferential treatment ahead of the Australian Open.
The 29-year-old has brashly accused Tiley of contradicting himself in a scathing social media post.
The biggest names in tennis are currently completing their 14-day quarantine ahead of the grand slam tournament, but some athletes have accused the event organisers of playing favourites.
As reported by The Herald Sun, tennis stars residing in Adelaide – including Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal – have been allowed larger entourages and more relaxed training conditions.
Meanwhile, their hotel rooms appear to be more luxurious than their Melbourne counterparts, with individuals balconies and gyms.
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Earlier this week, footage of Japan’s Naomi Osaka taking part in a training session in Adelaide with multiple support staff reportedly irritated the Melbourne-based players, who are only allowed to train with one person on the court.
When quizzed about the difference, Tiley’s response was blunt – grand slam champions get the “better deal”.
“I get the feeling it is perceived as preferential treatment,” Tiley said on Wednesday.
“But they’re the top players in the world. My general rule is if you’re at the top of the game, a grand slam champion, it’s just the nature of the business. You are going to get a better deal.”
Tiley also noted the accommodation of Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka, who posted a photo of himself to social media eating at a luxurious dining table in his Melbourne hotel room.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of Stan Wawrinka’s room, but is that preferential treatment?” Tiley asked.
“He has a pretty good deal. Others have only a one-bedroom (room) and in a different hotel.”
But Sandgren was not satisfied with Tiley’s response, calling out the TA chief executive on Twitter.
“Perceived as? F**k man don’t contradict yourself in the same paragraph,” Sandgren posted on Wednesday.
“Call a spade a spade.”
Austrian star Philipp Oswald echoed Sandgren’s remarks, complaining about the contradictory treatment.
“First, players were allowed to take a lot more staff with them,” Oswald told Tennisnet.
“They also have a gym in their hotel. So they don’t have to do their fitness exercises during the five-hour period (when they are allowed outside their rooms).
“You only have the five hours to play tennis. There was a huge discussion and the other players were also upset. It’s not apples and apples here, but apples and pears – and I caught the sour lemon.”
Sandgren caused a stir on social media last week by revealing he had tested positive to COVID-19 days before boarding a flight to Australia.
But a Tennis Australia spokesperson explained that a non-infectious person who has fully-recovered from COVID-19 could continue to shed the virus for several months.
“Vic government public health experts assess each case based on additional detailed medical records to ensure they are not infectious before checking in to the charter flights,” the spokesperson said.
“Players and their teams are tested every day from their arrival in Australia, a much stricter process than for anyone else in hotel quarantine.”