Players challenge Craig Tiley to change history
Players challenge Craig Tiley to change history

Best-of-three: Men challenge Tiley to change history

Australian Open men's players are discussing the option of throwing out history for one year and making the grand slam a best-of-three-sets format.

Japan's Taro Daniel, who is set to compete at Melbourne Park as a 'lucky loser', wasn't the instigator of the idea but wants tournament director Craig Tiley to give it serious thought.

Daniel is one of 72 players so far confined to hotel rooms without the option of leaving for his fortnight of hard quarantine, because of positive COVID-19 cases on their charter flights.

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The world No.117, who boasts a career-high ranking of 64, has only a foam roller at this stage for fitness purposes - and understands equipment like exercise bikes are going to be at a premium.

"A few players came up with the idea to bring it down to three sets this time, which I think would make a lot of sense," Daniel told the Herald Sun.

"Because even for guys who are able to train these two weeks, it's not optimal training.

Japan’s Taro Daniel says best-of-three-sets will help close the chasm between the elite and the rest. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch
Japan’s Taro Daniel says best-of-three-sets will help close the chasm between the elite and the rest. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch

You're limited to two hours a day and one hour of gym - so five sets would be pretty brutal this time.

"I think Craig's aware of it and I'm sure he's thought of it himself, but then obviously there's the whole historical, five-set thing they need to break down.

"I have no idea if they'll be able to do it or not, but I think perhaps they should."

Daniel said the coronavirus crisis was exacerbating the chasm between the game's elite and the rest, pointing to the comparative luxuries of the players quarantining in Adelaide.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Serena and Venus Williams are in South Australia for the exhibition event on January 29.

"People in Adelaide are being able to hit with four people on court, so there's some resentment towards that as well," the 27-year-old said.

"Tennis always has these very unfair treatments towards top players and lower players, especially during grand slams.

"The court time they get to hit usually is completely different … which I think, to a certain extent, they deserve, but especially during a crisis like this it gets even bigger."

 

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tilley. Picture: Michael Klein
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tilley. Picture: Michael Klein

 

Watching news vision from afar of citizens being arrested for not wearing a mask meant Daniel was more prepared than other players for the strict protocols.

That's why Daniel has few expectations of TA or the Victorian Government giving the green light to a 'bubble within a bubble', where hard quarantined players who tested negative could train together.

He is so far staying positive about his predicament, but fears he won't be as upbeat towards the latter end of his quarantine period.

"All the players are kind of in it together, so for now I'm doing well," Daniel said.

"I'm a little bit more worried for a week from now, when there are four or five days left and the nerves for the tournament start coming in."

Originally published as Best-of-three: Men challenge Tiley to change history



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