Australian Open: Two players test positive for coronavirus
Australia tennis star Nick Kyrgios is not going to stop slamming Novak Djokovic in public any time soon. Kyrgios has been outspoken against Djokovic for several years now, often criticising the Serbian tennis star for his actions off the court.
The world No 1 drew strong criticism last year in particular for organising the Adria Tour back in June during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Djokovic was forced to issue an apology after the event after a number of players – including himself – tested positive for COVID.
And he has hit the headlines once again in recent weeks in his views on how Australian Open officials have handled player welfare with some having to stay in their hotels for 14 days to quarantine.
Djokovic asked Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley to relax some of the quarantine rules for the 72 players in isolation, leading to a global backlash.
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Kyrgios took to social media after the Djokovic’s requests were made public, brandishing his rival as a “tool”.
And the 25-year-old has doubled down on his opinion of Djokovic, although appeared to give him a compliment by comparing him to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
“[Djokovic is] one of our leaders of our sport,” Kyrgios told CNN.
“He’s technically our LeBron James in the way he has to be setting an example for all tennis players.
“When he was doing some of the things he was doing during the global pandemic, it just wasn’t the right time.
“I know everyone makes mistakes, some of us go off track sometimes, and I think we have to hold each other accountable.
“We’re colleagues at the end of the day; we compete against each other, we play in the same sport.
“No one else was really holding him (Djokovic) accountable. Everyone loses their way a little bit but I think he just needs to pull it back.
“I’m not doing any of this sort of stuff for media attention: these are the morals I’ve grown up with and I was just trying to do my part.”
The Australian Open is scheduled to get underway on February 8, although a handful of players have vented their frustration at having to quarantine with little to no opportunities to train.
But Kyrgios agrees with the strict guidelines implemented by Tennis Australia, insisting exemptions shouldn’t be made for a Grand Slam or any tournament.
“Health and safety always come first in my eyes,” Kyrgios told CNN Sport’s Patrick Snell. “At the end of the day, it is only a tennis tournament that we’re playing and I don’t think it should override health protocols and putting other people at risk.
“[The players] knew when they got here what the restrictions were going to be […] so there is no real complaining in my opinion. I think if everyone went about the pandemic as Australia did, we would be in a very different position.”
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