Former world No 53 Sam Groth has called out Novak Djokovic for a “selfish political move” after it was reported that he wrote to Australian Open organisers with a list of proposals for the 72 players in quarantine.
The 72 players are unable to leave their rooms to train for two weeks after Covid-19 infections on their flights to Melbourne.
Among the requests from world No 1 Djokovic were better food, shortening the isolation periods if players tested negative and having players moved to "private houses with tennis courts".
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The move has not gone down well in Australia, where there is growing frustration that the Australian Open is going ahead when thousands of citizens are unable to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former Australia Davis Cup player Groth said Djokovic, who is the head of the Professional Tennis Players’ Association, was looking to gain popularity.
"Is he serious? It's a selfish political move to gain popularity," he wrote in his column for The Herald Sun.
To suggest players should have shorter quarantine isn't only ridiculous, it's insulting to Australians that have had to endure it.
"What did he think would happen? That (Victoria's Premier) Dan Andrews would say 'sure Novak anything you want'? Spare me."
Victoria Premier Dan Andrews has ruled out changing the quarantine rules, saying there would be “no special treatment” for tennis players.
Gordon Reid, a two-time men's wheelchair Grand Slam champion, said the complaints are only coming from a minority of players.
"It's a minority of the players that are kicking up a fuss but the majority of the time that minority are the loudest," he told Reuters.
I've seen a lot of people complaining about the food but I think it has been OK ... I think some people are maybe a little bit spoiled normally.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley has said the tournament would start as scheduled on February 8.
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