Practice matches included in AO qualifiers

Cash-strapped Tennis Australia will let fans into practice matches featuring the world's best players at Rod Laver Arena as part of a new paid ticketing scheme for Australian Open qualifying events.

After emptying its cash reserves of $80 million and taking out a $40 million loan to stage the COVID-ravaged 2021 Australian Open, TA is still desperately trying to replenish its coffers.

Tournament director Craig Tiley conceded to AAP that the 2022 Open still ran in the red despite Ash Barty icing the hugely successful edition by breaking a 44-year home singles title drought, after Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis won the men's doubles.

Tuesday's ticketing revelation shapes as a crucial element of Tiley's attempts to transform the fortnight-long grand slam into a "three-week extravaganza".

The qualifiers, which start on January 9, have traditionally been free entry, but this year adult tickets cost $10 and a child's entry is $5.

"It's a great price for fans to come in, watch great qualifying matches, but we've also got the top players on organised practice sessions playing practice matches, which they have agreed to do for 75-minute segments from three o'clock in the afternoon to about eight o'clock in the evening," Tiley told reporters on Tuesday.

"On Rod Laver (Arena), you'll have a chance to sit in the stadium and watch the best players play.

"So the training, the 'perfect practice' we're calling it, is a 75-minute segment where they'll have ball kids, they'll have umpires, they'll have fans that can come (from the) qualifying, so you could actually watch a match.

"They'll play against Novak (Djokovic), they'll play against Rafa (Nadal) and play a set against Rafa or whoever.

"So we will definitely see Novak doing it and we'll see Rafa doing and we'll see Coco (Gauff), we'll see Alex de Minaur, we'll see all the players."

Tiley said he expected to attract "several thousand" fans per day across the qualifying week.

The ticketing revelation comes a week after Tiley claimed the Australian Open - branded as the "grand slam of Asia Pacific" - was under long-term threat from China.

"The most important thing is it's not so much about the Australian Open being pinched - we're here until 2046, we're not going anywhere, and I think even beyond that," Tiley said.

"But it's more about what else can be done in this time slot? January is a very coveted period in the sporting calendar for many, because there's not much globally.

"So does a high net worth or a government go and invest in a major event themselves that they just put on and offer ridiculous prize money and then the players are torn on what their options are?

"We're always going to be looking out for that, but to make sure that never happens we just ensure that we run a great three-week extravaganza of tennis that the rest of the world wants to participate in and be part of.

"We've got over 120 years of history, which helps us as well."

Meanwhile, Tiley said he wasn't concerned that new COVID-19 testing requirements for visitors from China would affect attendance at Melbourne Park, conceding TA had expected lower numbers from the region regardless.

He said players from China have already arrived in Australia, and any guests will follow entry requirements.