Great Britain

Novak Djokovic breaks silence over Australian Open quarantine demands

Novak Djokovic has moved to clarify his requests for looser quarantine measures and denied he has been “selfish, difficult and ungrateful”.

The world No 1 has been caught in the middle of a row surrounding quarantine for the world’s best tennis players ahead of the Australian Open next month.

Over 70 players have been ordered to take a 14-day quarantine in Melbourne ahead of the first grand slam of the year, with Djokovic among a select group of elite players quarantining in Adelaide, where he is able to train for up to five hours per day outside.

The Serbian is fronting the breakaway Professional Tennis Players’ Association after resigning as head of the ATP’s Players Council last year.

And the 17-time grand slam champion has moved to play down his list of demands, after coming under criticism from the likes of fellow player Nick Kyrgios, with reports the 33-year-old asked for reduced isolation periods and that players were moved to “private houses with tennis courts”.

"Australia, in light of recent media and social media criticism for my letter to Craig Tiley, (Tournament Director of Australian Open), I would like to clarify a few things," Djokovic wrote in a long statement. "My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult, and ungrateful.

Novak Djokovic arrives before heading straight to quarantine for two weeks isolation

"This could not 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 to me when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order.

"Hence, I use my 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.”

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