Novak Djokovic has rejected claims players have been ‘ungrateful, weak, and selfish’ for complaining about a 14-day hotel room quarantine in Melbourne as the world No 1 produced an open letter to defend himself and fellow players amid heavy criticism.
Strict rules in the state of Victoria, has seen 72 players forced into a strict 14-day quarantine where they are unable to leave their hotel rooms, hampering preparations for the upcoming Australian Open.
Djokovic, who is in far more favourable conditions 450 miles away in Adelaide, spoke up with an extraordinary list of demands to provide players with more sympathetic treatment.
Spain’s World No 13 Roberto Bautista Agut described conditions in Australia as being ‘like a jail’ while Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva has continued to post conditions on her social media as she found a second mouse in her room on Tuesday.
Djokovic called on tournament organiser Craig Tiley to soften restrictions on players in complete lockdown. He wanted to see others provided with private housing with tennis courts on site.
It proved to be the latest PR disaster for Djokovic as he was slapped down and branded a ‘tool’ by popular Aussie Nick Kyrgios. Three times Major winner Stan Wawrinka reacted contemptuously on social media to the demands that Djokovic sent.
‘From Adelaide? Ahhahah,’ responded Wawrinka to French journalist Eric Saillot, who posted details of the missive sent by the world No 1.
Tiley urged disgruntled players not to go public with their moaning, adding: ‘If you want to have a crack, come to me, not social media.’
With heavy criticism being delivered in his direction, Djokovic has for the first time looked to ‘clarify’ his comments as to why he felt compelled to speak up on behalf of his fellow professionals.