Aussie Open tennis to remain in Melbourne

The NSW deputy premier says major Australian sports events hosted in Victoria must go ahead despite COVID-19 and should be shifted to NSW if need be.

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has kiboshed Sydney's ambitious bid to nab the tennis grand slam from coronavirus-riddled Melbourne.

NSW deputy premier John Barilaro says he'd be more than happy for major Victorian sports including the Open, AFL grand final and the spring horse racing carnival to shift north of the Murray as Victoria battles its COVID-19 outbreak.

With Melbourne in stage-four lockdown and recording hundreds of new COVID-19 cases each day, Barilaro on Friday said it was important major Australian sports events still took place.

He said he'd written to relevant sporting organisations and to ministers in the Victorian government to offer support, including the relocation of sports events.

"Some of these events down in Victoria are national events hosted in Victoria," Mr Barilaro told 2GB radio.

"It's important for the economy, important for the Australian psyche when it comes to sport.

"Absolutely we should be able to work with Victorians to find ways to make sure these all happen, these events are far too important in this crisis to not have."

There is no bigger sporting event on the Australian calendar than the billion-dollar Australian Open.

But Tiley, having said last month that Melbourne was the only city in the country equipped to host the fortnight-long extravaganza, on Friday doubled down and called for Barilaro and NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian to come to the party and modernise Olympic Park to international standards.

"For Sydney to be considered for the AO, there'd need to be an upgrade in facilities," Tiley told AAP.

"At the moment we have a great global event in the ATP Cup at Sydney Olympic Park, but we also need a facility upgrade to continue growing that event as a major international brand.

"We've been advocating for some time for a city-based venue in Sydney in partnership with the NSW government."

Tiley accepted Melbourne was "absolutely" going through a tough time but that Tennis Australia was committed to staging the slam in Melbourne, as planned from January 18-31.

"It's all hands on deck to work together to get us through this challenging situation," he said.

"Our focus is to get through the next few weeks and our team is in full planning mode to deliver a great Australian Open in Melbourne.

"At this stage we're working on a scenario where we'll have a potential reduction in crowds, and physical distancing and biosecurity protocols in place.

"We are also in constant contact with state and federal government on how we can safely bring in the players.

"One of the many great things about the Australian Open is that there's a global desire to be a host city and we're really proud of how we've grown the event over the years to become such an attractive property.

"We obviously have great facilities in Melbourne and the AO is contracted and committed to Melbourne Park."