Tennis men’s world number one Novak Djokovic has hit back at criticism he facing because of his letter to Australian Open chief Craig Tiley, suggesting easing of quarantine restrictions at the Australian Open 2021.
72 players are confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days after people travelling to Melbourne in special chartered flights returned with positive tests for Covid-19. The players are under hard quarantine and unable to train for the first Grand Slam of the year which kick starts from February 8.
Novak Djokovic had reportedly asked for reduced isolation periods and having players in hard quarantine moved to “private houses with tennis courts”, drawing a backlash from Australian people and media.
However, Tiley had confirmed they were suggestions and not demands.
“My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful,” the Serbian, who is isolating in Adelaide along with other top players, said in a lengthy statement.
“This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“… at times when I see the aftermath of things, I do tend to ask myself if I should just sit back and enjoy my benefits instead of paying attention to other people’s struggles.”
Further, former Australian Davis Cup player Sam Groth accused Djokovic’s letter as a “selfish political move” while world number 47 Nick Kyrgios called the Serbian a “tool”.
“I’ve earned my privileges the hard way … it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture, and good word mattered to me when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order.
“Hence, I use my position of privilege to be of service as much as I can where and when needed.”
“Things in the media escalated and there was a general impression that the players (including myself) are ungrateful, weak and selfish because of their unpleasant feelings in quarantine.
“I am very sorry that it has come to that because I do know how grateful many are. We all came to Australia to compete. Not being able to train and prepare before the tournament starts is really not easy.
“None of us ever questioned 14 days of quarantine despite what is being said by media outlets,” the defending champion added.