Former Davis Cup player Sam Groth has accused Novak Djokovic of a “selfish political move” after a report said the world number one had written to Australian Open organisers asking them to ease quarantine restrictions for players.
Passengers who arrived on three charter flights have been placed into hard quarantine, including more than 70 players who are unable to train outside their rooms for 14 days before the year’s first Grand Slam starts on Feb. 8.
A Spanish tennis website reported that Djokovic wrote to Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley with a list of “demands”, asking for reduced isolation periods and having players moved to “private houses with tennis courts”.
Djokovic’s management team did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.Many Australians have questioned the decision to host the tournament with organisers flying in 1,200 players and their entourages when thousands of citizens are stranded overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Djokovic, who set up the breakaway Professional Tennis Players’ Association last year after resigning as ATP Players Council head, was looking to gain popularity, said Australian Groth.
“Is he serious? It’s a selfish political move to gain popularity,” he wrote in his column for The Herald Sun.
Groth also pointed to the criticism the Serb received for organising the Adria Tour exhibition event in June in which he and several players tested positive for COVID-19.
“To suggest players should have shorter quarantine isn’t only ridiculous, it’s insulting to Australians that have had to endure it,” Groth added.
“What did he think would happen? That (Victoria’s Premier) Dan Andrews would say ‘sure Novak anything you want’? Spare me.”