Djokovic retreats over 'misconstrued' quarantine demands

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in their men's singles round-robin match on day two of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena. AFP/Glyn Kirk

AUSTRALIA - World number one Novak Djokovic published an open letter to the Australian public on Twitter on Wednesday in which he tried to "clarify" demands he appeared to make to the organisers of the Australian Open. 

Djokovic, an eight-times champion in Melbourne, was widely harangued on Tuesday after reportedly issuing a list of demands in a letter to Tennis Australia that included moving quarantined players into private homes with tennis courts and getting them better meals. 

Australian media zeroed in on the demands, portraying them as petulant and selfish while fellow player Nick Kyrgios called him a "tool".

READ: Kyrgios slams 'tool' Djokovic as Australian Open tensions run high

In Wednesday's tweet, Djokovic said his letter to Australian Open director Craig Tiley had been taken the wrong way.

"My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful," said Djokovic. 

"This couldn't be farther from the truth."

Djokovic said he was merely speaking up for fellow players who were not being treated as well as him.

At least 72 players have been barred from leaving their rooms for two weeks after coronavirus cases were detected on their charter flights into the country. 

Others are allowed out of their rooms for up to five hours a day to train under strictly-controlled conditions.

"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," said the 33-year-old Serb.

"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."

Djokovic said his letter to Tiley was a "brainstorm about potential improvements that could be made to the quarantine of players in Melbourne that were in full lockdown" and not a list of demands.

"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," said the 33-year-old Serb.

READ: Federer, Serena among entries for Australian Open

"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."

Djokovic said his letter to Tiley was a "brainstorm about potential improvements that could be made to the quarantine of players in Melbourne that were in full lockdown" and not a list of demands.

Source
AFP

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