The Australian Open is set to record a loss of more than US$78 million, tournament director Craig Tiley admitted today.

The COVID-19 restrictions has seen Tennis Australia having to deal with a crowd cap of just 30,000 spectators per day before a statewide five-day lockdown saw the arena closed with more than 100,000 tickets refunded.

“It’s going to be tough to look at the loss,” Tiley told Melbourne radio station SEN.

Naomi Osaka plays Su-wei Hsieh on Rod Laver Arena. Photo: Tennis Australia/ MORGAN HANCOCK

“It’s not going to be easy. We’re going to lose multimillions of dollars on this event.

“Obviously we took a big hit with five days with no fans, as you don’t sell merchandise [and] sponsors don’t get activation. You don’t sell tickets or premium hospitality. So five of 14 days, that’s a big hit.

“We have AU$80 million in reserve and we will exhaust that and we will take anywhere from a AU$40 to 60 million loan. It’s a big loss, but we haven’t finalised the number yet. We’ve still got to see what our receipts are.”

Tennis Australia has also had to pay for all the quarantine regulations players had to undergo on arrival in Australia last month.

Tiley though was upbeat, despite the depressing financial figures.

Kristina Mladenovic in action against Jessica Pegula with a backdrop of empty seats. Photo: Tennis Australia/ MORGAN HANCOCK

“Australia’s now got a playbook that we can share with the rest of the world,” he said.

“We’ve made … Australians proud that no one in the pandemic has brought in this many international stars from that many hot spots around the world and played an international sporting event for AU$86 million and in front of crowds.

“Maybe there’s a way for us to get sports and entertainment up and going again; we’ve got the model and we’ve learned a lot.”