Sports | January 19, 2021 10:32 am

Nick Kyrgios Calls Novak Djokovic “A Tool” for Australian Open COVID Protocol Demands

Djokovic reportedly asked organizers to ease quarantine restrictions for players

Nick Kyrgios Calls Novak Djokovic "a Tool" for Australian Open COVID Protocol Demands
Novak Djokovic snakes hands with Nick Kyrgios at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel 2017.
LatinContent via Getty Images

According to the world’s 47th-ranked tennis player in the world, reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is “a tool.”

Nick Kyrgios mocked Djokovic on Twitter after the sport’s top-ranked player reportedly sent a list of proposals to aid the more than 70 Australian Open players who have been forced into hard quarantine prior to the start of the tournament on February 8.

On Djokovic’s list of demands for the players, who are stuck inside their hotel rooms for 14 days minimum, are proposals such as better food, a reduced isolation period and having players moved to “private houses with tennis courts,” The Guardian reports.

In addition to ripping into Djokovic, Kyrgios also went after Australian pro Bernard Tomic’s girlfriend, Vanessa Sierra, who has received criticism in the media after documenting the couple’s self-isolation stay at the tournament hotel.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley acknowledged he had faced criticism for the tournament’s COVID-19 protocol, but also indicated that’s just the cost of doing business for players to get on the court during a pandemic.

“These are high performing athletes and it is hard to keep a high performing athlete in a room,” Tiley said. “This is the contribution that they have to make in order to get the privilege of when they do come out to compete for $80 million ($62 million) in prize money.”

Tiley also defended Djokovic for asking tournament organizers to ease restrictions.

“In the case of Novak, he wrote a note, these weren’t demands, they were suggestions,” Tiley said. “But he, too, is understanding what two weeks of lockdown means … every player coming down knew that if they were going to be close contacts or test positive that these were going to be the conditions.”

Testing of passengers arriving at the Australian Open on charter flights from Melbourne detected three new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, including two players.

In general, Australia’s international borders are mostly closed and all arrivals who do make it into the country have to undergo a mandatory quarantine in a hotel designated for such means.

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