Novak Djokovic roasted after making list of demands for quarantined Australian Open tennis players

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Novak Djokovic has been roasted online after making a series of demands for 72 Australian Open players stuck in hard quarantine.

The anti-vaxxer tennis star reportedly called on Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley to fulfill a list of requests for participants who are confined to hotel rooms for 14 days.

Djokovic, 33, is not subject to the strict isolation but wants his fellow competitors in Melbourne to have access to private houses with tennis courts, among other things.

Tennis fans returned serve on Djokovic by taking to Twitter to blast his proposals.    

‘I hope Djokovic gets a true Australian answer to his letter… yeah nah,’ tweeted sport reporter Sean Callanan.

‘Last person in the world I’d be taking advice on COVID protocols.’

World number one Novak Djokovic (pictured on the balcony of his Adelaide quarantine) has copped a backlash online after reportedly making a list of demands for 72 Australian Open players in hard quarantine 

Djokovic tested positive for coronavirus along with his wife Jelena (pictured together) in June last year after hosting Adria Tour tournament in Croatia and Serbia

Djokovic tested positive for coronavirus along with his wife Jelena (pictured together) in June last year after hosting Adria Tour tournament in Croatia and Serbia

Djokovic reportedly called for Tennis Australia to fulfill a list of requirements for the 72 stars, including for them to have access to private homes with a tennis court to train on

Djokovic reportedly called for Tennis Australia to fulfill a list of requirements for the 72 stars, including for them to have access to private homes with a tennis court to train on 

Novak Djokovic list of demands for quarantined players

  • Fitness and training material in all rooms
  • Decent food for elite athletes, following players taking aim at the meals on offer
  • Reduce the days of isolation for players in hard isolation and carry out more tests to confirm they are negative
  • Permission to visit your coach or physical trainer, as long as both have passed the tests
  • Grant both the player and his coach 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

According to Spanish tennis website Punto de Break, Djokovic, the world number one, also wants fitness and training materials in all rooms and decent food. 

He is also asking for the 14-days quarantine to be slashed by carrying out more tests and for players to be able to visit their coach, subject to a negative test being recorded.

Djokovic himself was struck down with Covid-19, along with his wife Jelena, after hosting the Adria Tour tournament in Croatia and Serbia in June.

Tennis players Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki were also diagnosed with the virus. 

Players were not obliged to observe social distancing measures and were filmed playing basketball and dancing together on stage at a nightclub. 

‘You know who we shouldn’t be listening to about covid protocols for a tennis tournament? … Novak ‘Adria Tour’ Djokovic,’ one Twitter user wrote, referencing the tennis star’s decision to host the competition. 

Sports broadcaster Shane McInnes said: ‘It’s fair to say Djokovic’s opinion on Covid-19 protocols count for zilch’. 

‘He partied when there were Covid restrictions. He should not have been allowed in Australia and now he is he can suck it up,’ another person tweeted. 

One tongue-in-cheek tweet read: ‘A Covid Denier, anti-vaxxer calling the shots sounds reasonable’. 

‘He quickly forgot the Covid disaster he created last year in his native country?’, read another comment.  

Twitter users blasted Djokovic, with one saying 'Last person in the world I'd be taking be advice on COVID protocols'

Twitter users blasted Djokovic, with one saying ‘Last person in the world I’d be taking be advice on COVID protocols’

Australian Open players and their entourages were initially told they would be able to leave their hotel rooms for five hours a day to train, but that changed after a spate of positive coronavirus tests.  

Five passengers across three Australian Open charter flights into Melbourne – from Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi and Doha – all tested positive on arrival.

Djokovic, who flew into Adelaide with a team of 10 people, is not subject to the same hard quarantine as those stranded in Melbourne.

Tennis Australia has not publicly responded to the list of requests but the COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria commissioner Emma Cassar told Melbourne’s 3AW there will be no changes to the quarantine rules.  

Djokovic's Adria Tour in Serbia and Croatia in June last year came under scrutiny after players were pictured out partying

Djokovic’s Adria Tour in Serbia and Croatia in June last year came under scrutiny after players were pictured out partying

Djokovic (pictured arriving into Adelaide last week) wants fitness and training materials in all rooms and decent food for the 72 Australian Open players in hard quarantine

Djokovic (pictured arriving into Adelaide last week) wants fitness and training materials in all rooms and decent food for the 72 Australian Open players in hard quarantine 

Djokovic hit out at the media over criticisms of his Adria Tour event at the time, claiming there had been a ‘witch hunt’ against him. 

He even promised he would ‘do it again’.

Djokovic also come under fire last year for his stance on vaccinations. He blamed the media again for ‘taking it out of context’. 

‘My issue here with vaccines is if someone is forcing me to put something in my body,’ he said last year.  

‘That I don’t want. For me that’s unacceptable. I am not against vaccination of any kind, because who am I to speak about vaccines when there are people that have been in the field of medicine and saving lives around the world?

‘I’m sure that there are vaccines that have little side effects that have helped people and helped stop the spread of some infections around the world.’

Australian Open stars rage over sudden hard quarantine 

Tournament organisers are facing growing defiance from the 72 players who can longer go outside and train for five hours a day as previously agreed. 

One player who was supposed to be isolating was caught opening his door to boast about buying food from Uber Eats for his entire floor.

Another was caught having a conversation with his training mate in his hallway, Victoria Covid quarantine commissioner Emma Cassar said. 

She warned further misbehaviour from players could be punished with fines of up to $20,000.

Players including Russian world No. 28 Yulia Putintseva have also hit out at being made to spend two weeks indoors. 

Former world number one and three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber is one of 47 players currently undergoing hard lockdown

Former world number one and three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber is one of 47 players currently undergoing hard lockdown

Cornet said that when she agreed to the tournament, players were told that they'd be separated into sections of 10 people on their flights. If one person within that section tested positive, players were informed they would need to quarantine

Cornet said that when she agreed to the tournament, players were told that they’d be separated into sections of 10 people on their flights. If one person within that section tested positive, players were informed they would need to quarantine

Putintseva tweeted she had never been told she would have to isolate if one person on-board her flight tested positive to Covid-19. 

‘What I don’t understand is that, why no one ever told us, if one person on board is positive the whole plane need to be isolated. I would think twice before coming here,’ she wrote.

Romanian world No.71 Sorana Cirstea meanwhile said she ‘would have stayed home’ had she known about the rule surrounding close contacts on their charter flight. 

Swiss world No. 12 Belinda Bencic said the restrictions offered some players an unfair advantage.

‘We are not complaining to be in quarantine. We are complaining because of unequal practice/playing conditions before quite important tournaments,’ she said.

‘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.’

French player Alize Cornet described the situation as ‘insane’ in a since deleted post.  

‘Soon, half of the players from the AO will actually have to isolate,’ Cornet wrote in a since-deleted tweet.

‘Weeks and weeks of practice and hard work going to waste for one person positive to Covid in a 3/4 empty plane. Sorry but this is insane.’

Cornet said that when she agreed to the tournament, players were told that they would be separated into sections of 10 people on their flights.

If one person within that section tested positive, players were informed they would need to quarantine. 

But those rules have since been amended to include the rest of the plane, she claimed. 

However, New Zealand doubles player Artem Sitak said players complaining about their plight should ‘put some things into perspective’ and realise how fortunate they are when 38,000 Australians still can’t get home.

‘A lot of Australians at the moment cannot get home, because of the restrictions and all that, and we as foreigners, over 1,000 people, we’re here in Australia, we’re going to be competing in a Grand Slam, earning a lot of money,’ he said.

‘We’re still lucky to be here, unfortunate circumstances with the quarantine, but that’s how it is.’

Sitak said it was made very clear to players they could be made to quarantine if anyone on their flight came into Australia carrying the virus. 

A tennis player exercises in her hotel room in Melbourne on Sunday where players are quarantining for two weeks ahead of the Australian Open

A tennis player exercises in her hotel room in Melbourne on Sunday where players are quarantining for two weeks ahead of the Australian Open

A cohort of top players like Djokovic playing at an exhibition tournament in Adelaide are said to have much better conditions, which did not sit well with  Austrian World No. 42 doubles player Philipp Oswald. 

‘First, players were allowed to take a lot more staff with them. Medvedev and Zverev, for example, were only allowed to take two people with them,’ he said.

‘They also have a gym in their hotel. So they don’t have to do their fitness exercises during the five-hour period. You only have the five hours to play tennis. There was a huge discussion and the other players were also upset.

‘It was then that Djokovic could understand that and wanted to be in Melbourne like the other players. One day later it was said that everything was already organised for him in Adelaide. 

‘It’s not apples and apples here, but apples and pears – and I caught the sour lemon.’

Anger over food and conditions inside tournament hub    

Some have highlighted the sub-par food they’ve been receiving since they arrived in Australia.

Carreno Busta, the world No. 15 who arrived from Spain, shared a picture of a salad, an apple and juice cup alongside the caption ‘really?’ 

Italian star and world No. 17 Fabio Fognini was offered the same meal, and explained that he hoped he received something more substantial next time.

World No. 28 Benoit Paire from France opted against the quarantine meals entirely, and ordered McDonald’s delivered to his room. 

Several top tier athletes including Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini have critiqued the food they've received since arriving last week. Frenchman Corentin Moutet shares his meal above

Several top tier athletes including Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini have critiqued the food they’ve received since arriving last week. Frenchman Corentin Moutet shares his meal above

As well as expressing her displeasure at the forced quarantine, Kazakhstan number one Yulia Putintseva also took issue with the hygiene inside the hub – posting a video of a mouse in her room. 

Complaints have fallen on deaf ears as the Department of Justice and Community Safety Victoria sent a warning to Tennis Australia about players trying to leave their room.

TA boss Craig Tiley said players will be fined and placed in hard quarantine if they continue.

‘There are a few people who are testing our procedures and we would encourage them to remain in their rooms, again, these procedures are in place to keep people safe,’ head of Corrections Victoria Emma Cassar told the ABC.

‘When people come out of their rooms it is not just about, or that they’re wrong, it is placing them and our staff and the community at risk.

Italian star and world No.17 Fabio Fognini was offered the same meal, and explained that he hoped he received something more substantial next time

Carreno Busta, the world No.15 who arrived from Spain, shared a picture of a salad, an apple and juice cup alongside the caption 'really?'

Carreno Busta, the world No.15 who arrived from Spain, shared a picture of a salad, an apple and juice cup alongside the caption ‘really?’. Italian star and world No.17 Fabio Fognini was offered the same meal, and explained that he hoped he received something more substantial next time

‘There is zero tolerance for breaches of that, I had a conversation with a Victoria Police this morning, to ensure that we are increasing our compliance and enforcement efforts and there is zero tolerance for the behaviour.’

Cassar said that there were cases of ‘challenging behaviour’ from some confined players and support staff.

She cited two cases when they opened their doors to have a conversation or shout down the hallway.

She said said despite the incidents being ‘low-level,’ the players’ behaviour is ‘dangerous’ 

Cassar warned they could be fined up to $20,000 or repeat offenders transferred to the complex care hotel where they have a police officer stationed outside their door.

Uruguayan tennis star stuck in hard quarantine after Covid case on his flight shows off clever hack to train 

 Tennis players thrust into hotel quarantine have been forced to get creative to practice for the Australian Open from their rooms.

Pablo Cuevas is one of 47 competitors ordered into mandatory 14 day isolation after positive coronavirus cases were identified on two separate charter flights into Australia last week.

Four infections have now been linked to flights from the US and Abu Dhabi, forcing players into hard quarantine, forbidden from joining others who can train outside for up to five hours a day.

But the Uruguayan world No. 68 is doing his best not let the circumstances impede his preparation for the annual Grand Slam tournament.

The 35-year-old filed himself whacking a ball against a mattress leaning against his hotel room’s wall to practice his single-hand backhands.  

Cuevas posted the video of his training session to Instagram on Sunday with the caption ‘yes, I’m going crazy.’

The clip shows the sportsman jumping onto his bed and rocking his feet to edge the mattress towards the wall.

Pablo Cuevas (pictured with his wife and children) is one of 47 tennis players that have been placed into hard quarantine after positive coronavirus cases were identified on two separate charter flights into Melbourne

Pablo Cuevas (pictured with his wife and children) is one of 47 tennis players that have been placed into hard quarantine after positive coronavirus cases were identified on two separate charter flights into Melbourne

‘They told me that the best waves are here in Australia,’ he said in Spanish. 

He then pulls out his racket and smacks a ball against the backboard substitute eight times before yelling ‘finita’, Spanish for ‘finished’. 

Cuevas arrived on a flight from Los Angeles on Friday morning carrying 24 tennis players, including two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber and 2019 US Open title holder Bianca Andreescu. 

 

New South Wales premier takes aim at Victorian border restrictions    

As her Victorian counterpart welcomed more than 1,000 foreign visitors into his state for the Australian Open, Gladys Berejiklian launched another scathing attack on Daniel Andrews over his decision to lock Sydneysiders out of the state.

The pair have been at loggerheads since Victoria closed its borders in December after a new outbreak emerged on Sydney’s northern beaches shortly before Christmas. 

Ms Berejiklian reignited the war of words with another thinly-veiled swipe at Mr Andrews on Sunday, despite NSW recording six new locally-acquired cases.

The Victorian Premier has come under more fire from NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian (pictured on Friday)

The Victorian Premier has come under more fire from NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian (pictured on Friday)

She has repeatedly pointed out in recent weeks that NSW waited until new cases in virus-riddled Victoria reached almost 200 a day or more before closing the border last July.

Ms Berejiklian insists she hasn’t heard a word from Mr Andrews, amid speculation Victoria is considering plans to reopen the border to some Sydneysiders in the coming days.

‘He’s not been in touch with me at all but I also say that should have occurred quite a while back because we don’t have a hot spot in New South Wales,’ Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Sunday.

‘We are, of course, dealing with a result of an outbreak from a month ago, but I think everybody would agree that closing a border of such significance is a really big deal and I stress that we waited until Victoria had in excess of – I think it was 180 cases they had the day after we announced the border closure.’

‘Just to put things into perspective, those decisions are difficult ones, they affect a lot of people and I would just ask people to really think about those decisions before they’re taken.’   

Easy for some 

Bernard Tomic has it easier than many Australian Open players as he quarantines with his Love island star girlfriend and allowed to practice five hours a day. 

After his miraculous last-ditch qualification for the Grand Slam in Melbourne, the faded star is taking every opportunity to hone his skills ahead of the first round.

The Australian player was seen on Sunday gripping an orange raquet through the window of his room at a Melbourne hotel, where he is staying with reality TV star turned OnlyFans girl Vanessa Sierra. 

Former Love Island star Vanessa Sierra congratulated her tennis player boyfriend Bernard Tomic on qualifying for the Australian Open

Former Love Island star Vanessa Sierra congratulated her tennis player boyfriend Bernard Tomic on qualifying for the Australian Open

The 28-year-old shocked spectators by winning a spot in the Open by beating fellow Aussie John-Patrick Smith in his third and final qualifying match in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday.

Tomic appeared deep in concentration as he rehearsed his moves ahead of the competition, which begins on February 8. 

Sierra on Sunday night shared a video from inside their room as she flopped on to the bed, only to fall between the two twin bed that were pushed together.

‘Mandatory hotel quarantine is going great, hbu (how about you)?’ she wrote.

Sierra on Sunday night shared a video from inside their room as she flopped on to the bed, only to fall between the two twin bed that were pushed together

Sierra on Sunday night shared a video from inside their room as she flopped on to the bed, only to fall between the two twin bed that were pushed together

Pictured: Bernard Tomic practicing his tennis swing inside his room in hotel quarantine on Sunday

Pictured: Bernard Tomic practicing his tennis swing inside his room in hotel quarantine on Sunday

Andrews was warned early

Despite having many months to plan the tournament, Mr Andrews dithered for enormous amounts of time labouring over quarantine requirements.

Players and tennis officials were at red alert by late November when less than two months before the usual start date the premier hadn’t even committed to the Open actually happening.

‘It has to be done safely, it has to be done properly,’ he said at the time.

‘We are working very, very closely with Tennis Australia. They are working (with) all of their partners and we’re confident that we’ll finish up with an Australian Open.’ 

This went on for weeks amid warnings that if everything was left to the last minute and players arrived too late they wouldn’t be the necessary practice.

Many threatened to boycott, and those who came all the way to Melbourne to train in a hotel room probably wish they had.  

This week flights ferrying players, including defending champion Novak Djokovic, have arrived

This week flights ferrying players, including defending champion Novak Djokovic, have arrived

Djokovic stepped in to urge Mr Andrews to promise players they could train outside for the tournament while in quarantine.

‘I hope that there is going to be support and understanding from the Victorian and Australian government for the players and for Tennis Australia and that they will allow players to compete in the second week of quarantine,’ he told reporters at the ATP Finals in London.

‘I mean, hopefully that’s going to help tremendously with the calendar and everything, and you won’t be then losing a week.

‘You will be able to have at least a tournament or two prior to the Australian Open, which for majority of the players is important.

‘Having no official match before the Australian Open, before a Grand Slam, is a huge thing.’  

Alex de Minaur, an Australian star living in Spain, had his manager Andy Criag warn players could boycott if there are no lead-up tournaments or good preparation conditions. 

‘If it’s not going to be a tournament held to the standard they’re used to, there’s too much disruption, and some of the bigger players can’t have their full teams with them, or the conditions aren’t ideal for preparation, they may not play,’ Mr Craig told the Sydney Morning Herald

‘There’s a real risk of that happening. It would be good to have some clarity this close to the tournament.’

Wrangling went on for weeks more and the tournament was pushed back three weeks.

Then there were problems with the hotel due to penthouse owners refusing to let players stay in the same building, so new ones had to be found last minute.

Now players are only arriving with three weeks to spare, making any delay to their training a disaster they may not be able to recover from. 

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