Novak Djokovic has slammed Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley and has a list of protocol changes after tennis stars arrived in Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open.
There are reportedly 72 players who face a hard 14-day lockdown and are unable to leave their hotel rooms, as a third plane with a positive COVID-19 test arrived in the state on Sunday night.
Djokovic has called on Tiley to support the players in quarantine and has a list of demands which include:
- Fitness and training material in all rooms
- Decent food for athletes
- Reduce the days of isolation for players in quarantine and carry out more tests to confirm they are negative
- Permission to visit your coach or physical trainer as long as both test negative
- Grant both the player and their coach permission to be on the same floor of the hotel
- Move as many players as possible to private houses with a tennis court to facilitate training
Many tennis stars have been complaining about the regulations, with Swiss world No 12. Belinda Bencic explaining the situation on Twitter.
“We are not complaining to be in quarantine,” tweeted Swiss world No. 12 Belinda Bencic.
“We are complaining because of unequal practice/playing conditions before quite important tournaments.
“We made our decision to come here from rules that were sent to us. Then we arrived and received an information/rule book with more/new rules that we did not know about.”
It appears that there has been a rule change after tennis stars testing positive to COVID-19 and a hard quarantine was introduced. Players signed onto appearing in the Australian Open after being promised a 5 hour daily quarantine exemption, where stars could go practice, go to the gym and rehab.
This is backed up by Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, ranked 71.
“I was planning to play the tournament because they promised daily 5 h quarantine exemption where we could go practice, do a gym session and rehab. This was the deal before signing up to this … but the rules changed ‘overnight’!
“I have no issues to stay 14 days in the room watching netflix. Believe me this is a dream come true, holiday even. What we can’t do is COMPETE after we have stayed 14 days on a couch. This is the issue, not the quarantine rule.
“If they would have told us this rule before I would not play Australia … I would have stayed home. They told us we would fly at 20 per cent capacity, in sections and we would be a close contact ONLY if my team or cohort tests positive.”
People have slammed Djokovic’s requests, saying that the chances of them happening are “absolutely none”.
“Proposals reportedly made by Novak Djokovic to #ausopen boss Craig Tiley for players, in particular those in isolation. Points 3 to 6 have zero chance of happening. Absolutely none. It’s fair to say Djokovic’s opinion on COVID-19 protocols count for zilch,” one fan tweeted.
Another joked about Djokovic talking about COVID protocols when he organised the Adria tour, which resulted in major players and Djokovic himself being diagnosed with COVID-19.
“You know who we shouldn’t be listening to about COVID protocols for a tennis tournament? Novak ‘Adria Tour’ Djokovic,” the fan joked.
This article originally appeared on Over60.