Novak Djokovic 'absolutely right' over Australian Open Covid quarantine requests - Boris Becker
Novak Djokovic's list of requests to make Covid-19 enforced isolation ahead of the Australian Open more palatable for the players affected was swiftly rejected by local authorities, with Nick Kyrgios branding him "a tool". But Boris Becker, the Serb's former coach, has told Eurosport that his old charge's requests were reasonable.
Boris Becker and Novak Djokovic of Serbia talk during a practice session ahead of the 2020 ATP Cup Group Stage at Pat Rafter Arena on January 02, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia
Boris Becker has defended Novak Djokovic, whom he used to coach, after the Serb was widely criticised for a list of requests to Australian authorities, with many of his fellow players in quarantine ahead of the Australian Open.
More than 70 players set to play in the tournament are confined to their hotel rooms after positive tests for Covid-19 were found among those with whom they shared a flight to Melbourne in the run-up to the tournament.
However, Becker has told Eurosport that the requests were entirely reasonable and that much of the reaction to his demands was felled by a personal distaste.
"The points he wrote down were absolutely right and legitimate," he said to Eurosport Germany.
"You get the feeling Djokovic can do whatever he wants at the moment, he just gets a lot of criticism.
"In this case, really unjustified. He wanted to stand up for the players, just wanted to create fair conditions for everyone, but was sharply criticized, even by the prime minister of the country.
Ruud practises serve indoors during hotel quarantine
"I think it's important for Australia and especially Melbourne that the players come to Melbourne. It's good for the city and for the economy. The country and the city benefit and then you have to treat the players more fairly and respectfully."
Becker, himself a two-time winner in Melbourne, says that those who are in quarantine will go into the tournament unfit.
"There are 70 players affected, out of a field of 128 players. A third is certainly in adverse conditions in Australia.
"When they come out of quarantine, they haven't even been out in the fresh air, haven't played tennis. No matter how many steps they've taken in the room, they haven't played ball, and then they have a week to prepare for best-of-five matches, at least for the men, in the hot conditions.
"That task doesn't really work. All the winter preparation was for naught. You have to ask yourself whether these are fair conditions for everyone. As an organiser, you have to ask yourself: is this right, is this reasonable?"