Australian Open: Nick Kyrgios calls Novak Djokovic 'a tool' for requests to break quarantine rules

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·5 min read

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’

Australia's Nick Kyrgios points with a racket.
Australia's Nick Kyrgios called Novak Djokovic 'a tool' for his requests during a hard quarantine. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

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.”

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.

He said he would hold the event again if he could. Kyrgios also ripped the star then.

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.

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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