Outraged Australians have again hit back at Novak Djokovic after the World No. 1 backtracked on his ‘out of touch’ requests for players undergoing hotel quarantine in the lead up to the Australian Open.
The 33-year-old denied that he had issued a list of ‘demands’ about quarantine conditions in Melbourne, claiming instead that they were simply suggestions to help his fellow competitors.
But more than 70 players are unable to leave their Melbourne hotel rooms under hard quarantine after at least 10 players and their entourages tested positive to the virus on charter flights to Australia.
Along with the likes of Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, Djokovic is serving his 14-day quarantine in luxury apartments in Adelaide, and is allowed to train for five hours a day
Djokovic was slammed as entitled after calling on Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley to soften restrictions on players in hard lockdown
Djokovic denied that he had issued a list of ‘demands’ about quarantine conditions in Melbourne, claiming instead that they were suggestions to help his fellow competitors
Djokovic was slammed as entitled after calling on Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley to soften restrictions on players in hard lockdown. He wanted to see others provided with private housing with tennis courts on site.
The Serb defended himself on Wednesday, arguing he had good intentions and wanted to use his ‘privilege’ to help other competitors who are unable to practice.
‘My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult, and ungrateful. This couldn’t be farther from the truth,’ he wrote in an impassioned Instagram post.
Djokovic’s explanation hasn’t been well received by the Australian public, particularly Victorians, who educated him on Melbourne’s brutal five-month stage 4 lockdown last year.
‘I’ve lost my career. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives. Economies and industries have collapsed. The world is in turmoil. You have millions, you have your health. Shut up and eat the food for 14 days or take a year off you ungrateful cunt. Nobody cares,’ wrote Victorian comedian Marcus Ryan.
‘You have proved that you are over-privileged, arrogant and ignorant of the suffering of others,’ another Aussie commented.
‘I highly respect what you have written. But you also need to understand what we have been through here. Especially in Melbourne. We had the toughest lock down laws implemented around the world,’ wrote a third.
‘We just can’t be bothered to find the compassion for athletes who have come here bringing Covid with them. Then constantly complaining about the conditions.
‘We are angry because we are nervous. If we get another break out people will revolt.’
Djokovic’s explanation hasn’t been well received by the Australian public, particularly Victorians, who educated him on Melbourne’s brutal five-month stage 4 lockdown last year
Another person wrote ‘We’ve had lots of families who lost loved ones. And to have tennis players demanding stupid things like a private house with tennis courts, I’m sorry to me this is just selfish.’
One outraged Aussie took the opportunity to remind Djokovic that 38,000 Australians are still stranded overseas, unable to reenter the country.
‘Mate – There are Australians who are stranded and are not being able to go back to see their families. In these circumstances you were privileged to be there and took a spot from those who deserved to be with their families.’
Others called Djokovic out for his hypocrisy after he hosted the Adria Tour in Croatia and Serbia last June in the height of the Covid pandemic.
A number of tennis players, including Djokovic himself and wife Jelena then tested positive to Covid.
‘Why is it always you to create tension and crisis instead of your ‘good intentions’. Wasn’t the same thing with Adria tour? You had good intentions but you created a mess,’ a comment read.
‘Maybe its time to reflect and see if you can change yourself. And despite your second statements to clarify, your first ones are the ones which define you. You’re not welcome in Australia mate.’
Others said the World No. 1 has a ‘bad track record’ with Covid and should be ‘ashamed,’ while another person reminded him he’s not ‘staving to death in prison’.
Despite the second round of fierce backlash, some praised Djokovic for clarifying his earlier statements.
‘Well said Novak. It’s a shame anyone made you feel that you had to write this but well done,’ one comment read.
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley urged players not to air their grievances on social media
‘Good god, it’s insane that you need to clarify this! Haters will use any ammunition!’ said another.
In his statement, Djokovic said he ‘genuinely cares’ about and wants to help his fellow players.
‘It is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture, and good word mattered when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order,’ he wrote.
‘Hence I use my position of privilege to be of service as much as I can where and when needed.’
He said Mr Tiley and himself have always had a good relationship, and he respects all the effort he has put in to ensuring the Grand Slam goes ahead.
‘In our email exchange I used an opportunity to brainstorm about potential improvements that could be made to the quarantine of players in Melbourne that were in full lockdown,’ he wrote.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S OPEN LETTER TO AUSTRALIA IN FULL
In light of recent media and social media criticism for my letter to Craig Tiley (Tournament director of the Australian Open), I would like to clarify a few things.
My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult, and ungrateful. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Not every act is taken at its face value and at times when I see the aftermath of things, I do tend to ask myself if I should just sit back and enjoy my benefits instead of paying attention to other people’s struggles. However, I always choose to do something and be of service despite the challenging consequences and misunderstandings.
I genuinely care about my fellow players and I also understand very well how the world is run and who gets bigger and better and why. I’ve earned my privileges the hard way, and for that reason, it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture, and good word mattered when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order. Hence I use my position of privilege to be of service as much as I can where and when needed.
I have always had a very good relationship with Craig, and I respect and appreciate all the effort he puts into making the Australian Open a place to look forward to coming back to each year.
In our email exchange I used an opportunity to brainstorm about potential improvements that could be made to the quarantine of players in Melbourne that were in full lockdown.
There were a few suggestions and ideas that I gathered from other players from our chat group and there was no harm intended to try and help. I was aware that the chances were low that any of our suggestions would be accepted, just like my request to quarantine with my team in Melbourne instead of Adelaide, was denied prior to our travel because of strict government regulations.
Since I couldn’t be with other players in Melbourne, I made myself available to them if needed.
I understand that organising international sporting events during a pandemic poses health risks to the local community and to the players themselves. Therefore, I would like to express my full gratitude to Tennis Australia, the Australian government and local citizens for being willing to take this risk with us for the love of the game and the multiple opportunities it brings to the economy of the country and its people.
We are honoured, and we will all do our best to follow the guidelines and protocols put in place. We do hope that we will be able to nurture our bodies and be ready for the mental and physical endurance and strength tests that are ahead of us once the competition starts.
Things in the media escalated and there was a general impression that the players (including myself) are ungrateful, weak, and selfish because of their unpleasant feelings in quarantine.
I am very sorry that is has come to that because I do know how grateful many are. We all came to Australia to compete. Not being able to train and prepare before the tournament starts is really not easy. None of us ever questioned 14 days of quarantine despite what is being said by media outlets.
I am very much looking forward to playing in front of the people and joining the tennis frenzy and energy of the city that has always carried me towards many victories. I am also looking forward to seeing all my fellow players together in Melbourne. I am blown away by the numerous messages of gratitude and love that I have received during these past few days.
Wishing you all health and love,
Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News