Novak Djokovic hits back at allegations of being ‘selfish, difficult and ungrateful’
World No 1 Novak Djokovic insists he was not being “selfish, difficult and ungrateful” in speaking out about quarantine conditions for players ahead of the Australian Open.
Ten people who have flown to Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of the year have tested positive for coronavirus, resulting in 72 players being confined to their rooms.
Djokovic is part of a group of top players enjoying better conditions while quarantining in Adelaide, but the 33-year-old said he had felt obliged to use his “hard-earned” privileges to make suggestions to tournament director Craig Tiley on how to improve conditions for players in Melbourne.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 20, 2021
In a long social media post, Djokovic wrote: “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
“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 position of privilege to be of service as much as I can where and when needed.”
— 9News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) January 19, 2021
Regarding his suggestions to Tiley, Djokovic added: “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 the strict government regulations.
“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 it has come 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.”
Daniil Medvedev in fine form as Russian Federation storm into Davis Cup semi-final
Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev secured victory for the Russian Tennis Federation over Sweden.
Olympic chiefs speak to Peng Shuai after WTA pulls all events out of China
The IOC said it is concerned about Peng but is using “quiet diplomacy” to engage with China.
Explainer – Why Emma Raducanu has a real chance to break into the world’s top 10 in 2022
The door is open for Raducanu to make rapid strides forward in the WTA rankings.
Johanna Konta reveals why she decided to call time on her tennis career
Konta has gone into detail over why she decided the time was right to call time on her tennis career.
Novak Djokovic turns on the style to lead Serbia into Davis Cup semi-finals
Djokovic defeated Alexander Bublik before teaming up with Nikola Cacic in the deciding doubles rubber.
Dramatic move as WTA suspends all Chinese tournaments amid Peng Shuai concerns
The WTA has withdrawn all of its business with China over ongoing concerns over the safety of Peng Shuai.
End of the road for former British No.1 Johanna Konta as she retires from tennis
Konta has announced her retirement from tennis, with the former British No.1 walking away from the sport at the age of 30.
Australian official hits back after claim they are ‘blackmailing’ Novak Djokovic
Djokovic is increasingly being drawn into a political battle as the decision on whether he will play in the Australian Open looms large.
Comment – Novak Djokovic may be about to become an anti-vaxxer poster boy
The world No.1 and reigning Australian Open champions has refused to confirm whether or not he is vaccinated against Covid-19.
Captain Leon Smith gives his verdict as Britain crash out of Davis Cup
Britain’s Davis Cup campaign came to an end in the quarter-finals with defeat by Germany in Innsbruck.