Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, ever the outspoken one, didn’t miss the chance to call out his peers for their cavalier tone and lack of perspective.
Kyrgios called out Novak Djokovic as “a tool” for his list of requests that break health safety protocols. A quarter of the Australian Open field was put into a hard 14-day quarantine and unable to practice after five individuals on three chartered flights tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival. He also blasted Vanessa Sierra, the girlfriend of Bernard Tomic, for her videos from the hotel room.
Novak Djokovic reportedly sends list of demands
Novak Djokovic, the reigning men’s champion ranked No. 1 in the world, reportedly sent a series of demands to Australian Open head Craig Tiley after an additional 25 players were put into a 14-day quarantine at their hotel. Players are unable to leave their rooms, meaning the five-hour practice time initially allotted to them is no longer available.
Via Spanish journalist Fernando Murciego, Djokovic asked for the following:
Fitness and training material in all rooms
Decent food, according to the level of the tournament and from an elite athlete
Reduce the days of isolation, use more tests to confirm players are negative
Permission to visit coach or physical trainer as long as both have a negative test
Put coach and player on same floor if negative
Move players to a private house with a court to train
Kyrgios calls Djokovic ‘a tool’
The proposals were criticized by journalists and fans alike. Kyrgios shared a news piece by 7News Melbourne describing the requests and the reaction of tennis stars by calling him “a tool.”
Djokovic is a tool. I don’t mind Bernie but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes 🤦🏽♂️ https://t.co/MMgeriH2GJ
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) January 18, 2021
The 7News feature included social posts from Sierra, who is with Tomic in quarantine. She complained about the food and said the “worst part of quarantine” is she can’t get her hair washed.
“I don’t wash my own hair,” she said in a video. “I’ve never washed my own hair. It’s just not something that I do.”
Kyrgios noted her lack of perspective, which was underlined in the piece by premier Daniel Andrews.
Many fans and journalists noted Djokovic’s role in the Adria Tour he helped organize. He held the tournament in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis in Serbia and Croatia in June. Both he and his wife contracted the novel coronavirus as did three other players. There were no social distancing protocols and players came from all over the world. Videos showed tennis stars maskless at a nightclub nights prior.
How tennis stars are dealing with quarantine
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, former U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens and Canadian star Bianca Andreescu are among the tennis players in a hard quarantine. They will have only about one week before the start of the main tournament to practice.
Australia opened its borders for the Australian Open to allow charter flights carrying tennis players and staff into the country for the tournament. Those not on a hard quarantine are allowed up to five hours of training time per day.
Most players appear to be doing the best they can given the circumstances.
Wrong surface but that doesn‘t matter for us💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/R8FsdyGafy
— Belinda Bencic (@BelindaBencic) January 17, 2021
— Luca Fiorino (@FiorinoLuca) January 16, 2021
As you all know, I am one of the players that has been placed in full isolation. Not the easiest news to get but staying strong and making the best of it. I am committed to do whatever it takes to get ready despite the circumstances. Time to get creative 😜 👇👇 pic.twitter.com/pTdZDy0saM
— Ons Jabeur (@Ons_Jabeur) January 18, 2021
Australian Open crowds warned about contact with players, staff
The Australian government and doctors are concerned with mingling between players and the crowd, but for the opposite reason of that during the U.S. Open. Sanjaya Senanayake, the country’s infectious disease expert, urged Australians in the crowd not to interact with players or their staff since the COVID-19 case numbers are so high in the U.S. and Europe.
“This is going to be almost a reverse to the US and French Open where players and their staff were all worried about getting it from the crowd,” Senanayake told Sunrise, via The Australian.
“It will be the opposite here when we will have hardly any COVID and we don’t want to get from our visitors, so we will have to be very careful to make sure the crowds do not interact with the people who have come from overseas, and we should have a reduction in the capacity of the crowds just in case there is some background COVID circulating in metropolitan Melbourne.”
Victoria has experienced 11 consecutive days without any community transmission of the virus. Workers are returning to their offices on Monday for the first time in months at 50 percent capacity.
The U.S. had at least 1,730 new COVID-19 deaths and 169,641 new cases on Sunday alone, according to the New York Times.
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