World tennis No 1 Novak Djokovic has been facing flak for reportedly making a list of demands for 72 quarantined Australian Open players that seek easing of restriction on the players ahead of the upcoming tournament.
As per reports, the Serbian star wrote to Craig Tiley, the Australian Open tournament director, with a set of demands pertaining to restrictions put on the 72 Australian Open candidates quarantined in Adelaide.
The 14-day quarantine was put in place on all 72 players after one of the passengers in the third flight allowed into Melbourne tested positive for coronavirus.
The strict quarantine restrictions, which have confined the players into their hotel rooms, means that the players will not be able to undertake rigorous practice preceding the tournament.
Taking the issue up, Djokovic who is himself not one of the 72 Australian Open players, has demanded that the players be moved to houses or accommodations with tennis courts in them. He has also demanded that hard quarantine restrictions be eased for elite players who should be allowed to meet their coaches and trainers, given that each party had tested negative for Covid-19.
Apart from that Djokovic contended that players be served quality food following reports of the inferior menu being served up to players and also demanded training equipment for those in quarantine.
The 33-year-old player also suggested that trainers and players be allowed to quarantine on the same floor and that quarantine time should be reduced from 14 days for players who test negative for Covid-19.
Djokovic’s demands are being met with ridicule online with many questioning his logic in demanding eased restrictions for players, despite at least four positive covid-19 cases.
According to a report by the news agency Associated Press, as many as four coronavirus cases have been detected from charter flights carrying the tennis players, coaches, and officials to Melbourne for the Australian Open.
Health authorities confirmed there had been three positive tests for COVID-19 on Saturday, and another on Sunday. None of the cases have so far involved players.
As Djokovic’s demands went viral, Australian politician and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews responded to the Serbian, stating that they would not be met.
“People are free to provide a list of demands. But the answer is no,” Andrews was quoted by media as saying on Monday. “I know that there’s been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules. Well, the rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else, and they were all briefed on that before they came.”
Andrews also added that despite advice and commentary from players, the quarantine rules were drafted on the basis of advice from public health experts.
Djokovic is also being panned on social media for his demands. Senior journalist David Milner took to Twitter to marvel at Djokovic’s “lack of self-awareness”.
In awe of Novak Djokovic's lack of self-awareness. Imagine running your own rogue superspreader tennis tournament, which helped spread coronavirus across the Balkan states, and then putting your hand up with some suggestions for the Aus Open.
— David Milner (@DaveMilbo) January 18, 2021
The same Novak Djokovic who organised a super-spreader event in Serbia and said 'yes the virus is bad but life goes on'? https://t.co/aoSZ3mVpTb
— Emily (@Emilitaa23) January 17, 2021
Novak Djokovic: Here is a list of my #Covid19Vic demands.
Dan Andrews answer: pic.twitter.com/9opbhfmACe
— Aster (@regdod_dalas) January 17, 2021
Having Novak Djokovic give advice on Cornoavirus is like Bernard Tomic giving advice on perseverance.
— Titus O'Reily (@TitusOReily) January 18, 2021
Novak Djokovic: Hey Australia, imma gonna shove my list of demands in yer pocket
— Mark (@namasteinoz) January 18, 2021
I hope Djokovic gets a true Australian answer to his letter… Yeah Nah
Last person in the world I'd be taking advice on COVID protocols https://t.co/rljJFRDwCk
— Sean Callanan (@seancallanan) January 17, 2021
Novak Djokovic has a list of demands pertaining to COVID quarantine, and they are … pic.twitter.com/3ETbshVvmk
— Danielle Binks (@danielle_binks) January 18, 2021
Today is just another day where I have absolutely zero interest in anything Novak Djokovic has to say.
— Alison Smirnoff (@AlisonSmirnoff) January 18, 2021
Earlier in June last year, Djokovic had been criticised after his exhibitory Adria tour for charity became a Covid-19 hotspot in Serbia.
This year, quarantine rules for the Australian Open players was changed