Kyrgios also branded Vanessa Sierra – girlfriend of Bernard Tomic – ‘ridiculous’ for complaining that she had to wash her own hair in quarantine, as she revealed she has gotten death threats over the remark.
Organisers of the tournament had already been facing criticism for flying in tennis stars from around the world to take part, with the athletes’ complaints about quarantine measures worsening the backlash.
Seven people among the more than 1,000 who travelled to largely coronavirus-free Australia for the tournament have now tested positive for Covid-19, according to health officials, with two new cases confirmed on Tuesday.
Djokovic was called a ‘tool’ by Kyrgios on Twitter after the world number one reportedly issued a list of demands for players undergoing quarantine.
‘Djokovic is a tool,’ Kyrgios posted in a tweet that also criticised Bernard Tomic’s girlfriend Vanessa Sierra for posting a video where she joked about not having access to a hairdresser.
World number one Novak Djokovic is among the Australian Open players who have been criticised for complaining about having to quarantine in hotels. Djokovic is among several players with better facilities, such as rooms with balconies. Pictured: Djokovic on the balcony of his hotel room in Adelaide, Australia on Tuesday
Australian player Nick Kyrgios was among the chorus of critics, branding Djokovic ‘a tool’ and criticising Bernard Tomic’s girlfriend Vanessa Sierra for a video in which she joked about not having access to a hairdresser
Complaints from stars undergoing a mandatory 14 days of quarantine in hotels prior to this year’s first Grand Slam have drawn ire from the public in Victoria, which emerged from a four-month lockdown in October. Pictured: Djokovic waves from his balcony on Tuesday
Seven people among the more than 1,000 who travelled to largely coronavirus-free Australia for the tournament have tested positive for Covid-19, according to health officials. Pictured: Djokovic watches a young fan play tennis under his hotel room on Tuesday
Djokovic, 33, the reigning Australian Open champion, is among a select group of stars – including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal – allowed to fly into Adelaide and enjoy better facilities such as hotel rooms with balconies, unlike the majority quarantining in Melbourne.
The Serb star wrote a letter to Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley, calling on him to arrange practice time for the 72 players who have been confined to hotel rooms after cases were detected on their chartered flights.
Under Australia’s strict coronavirus border measures, that means they are deemed a ‘close contact’ of an infected person and must quarantine for two weeks.
The others can train for up to five hours a day under strictly controlled conditions. A series of warm-up events will be held after the quarantine period, before the Australian Open starts on February 8.
Djokovic also suggested players could be quarantined in private houses in Melbourne with tennis courts and gym facilities. Those players not confined to their rooms can currently train for up to five hours a day under strictly controlled conditions.
His comments were met with backlash, with some pointing out that they would not take advice from the 17-time Grand Slam champion who himself had tested positive for coronavirus in June last year after hosting the Adria Tour tournament in Croatia and Serbia without apparent social distancing or other measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Several other players also tested positive along with Djokovic’s wife Jelena.
Vanessa Sierra, the girlfriend of player Bernard Tomic, said she had received death threats over a video in which she jokes about having to wash her own hair in quarantine
Sierra said her comments in the tongue-and-cheek video had been taken out of context by the media
Australian media portrayed the request as petulant and selfish, while showing images of Djokovic not wearing a mask in a players’ minibus, which would be required in most taxis and ride-shares in Australia.
However, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley defended Djokovic, saying his letter merely contained ‘suggestions and ideas’, not demands.
World number 13 Roberto Bautista Agut has also complained of the conditions in hotel rooms, telling a TV station that quarantine was like prison ‘with wifi’, calling the arrangements a ‘complete disaster’.
Tiley said Australia’s strict quarantine rules were initially a ‘shock’ to some players but most had told him during a conference call that they accepted the restrictions and wanted to apologise for the comments of a disgruntled few.
‘The majority of the players have been absolutely fantastic and this is a playing group that’s a little bit upset with what some others have said because it holds them in a bad light in the community,’ Tiley told reporters.
Sierra pointed out that she gave tens of thousands of dollars over Christmas to people in need due tot he pandemic
Sierra (left) and her boyfriend Bernard Tomic (right) are among 72 tennis stars and their entourages currently in hard hotel lockdown after they were deemed to be close contacts of six Covid-infected passengers on charter flights into Melbourne
Belinda Bencic finds a way to train while in mandatory hotel quarantine ahead of the tournament
Marcelo Arévalo González (pictured) practised volleys using his mattress while in lockdown
He also ruled out cutting the maximum duration of men’s matches from five sets to three during the tournament to help players whose preparation had been compromised by quarantine lockdown.
‘We haven’t entertained those comments or that position,’ he said.
A series of warm-up events will be held after the quarantine period, before the Australian Open starts on February 8.
Meanwhile, Kyrgios also took aim at fellow Australian player Tomic’s girlfriend Sierra after she posted a tongue-and-cheek online video about the struggles of quarantine, including having to wash her own hair.
‘This is the worst part of quarantine,’ Sierra said in the video, showing off her messy mane.
Outspoken tennis star Nick Kyrgios blasted Sierra on Twitter, saying: ‘I don’t mind Bernie but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes’. Pictured: Kyrgios during the 2020 Australian Open [File photo]
French player Alize Cornet shared two photos taken from her own hotel quarantine stay in Melbourne
Some players including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka (pictured) and Rafael Nadal were allowed to fly into Adelaide and enjoy better facilities such as hotel rooms with balconies, unlike the majority quarantining in Melbourne, who had come into contact with people who later tested positive while flying in
She told followers that she has never washed her own hair and usually has it done by hairdressers twice a week.
‘I can’t wait to get out of quarantine just so I can get my hair done,’ she said.
Some have slammed Sierra’s comments as tone deaf but she insists they have been taken out of context.
She has posted several videos from quarantine, describing the lack of space in the room for training and how she has been passing the time.
‘I don’t mind Bernie but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes,’ Kyrgios tweeted.
Sierra has said that she has received death threats over her comments which were made in a lighthearted vlog then picked up by the media.
‘Did not make any complaints – simply did a daily vlog as I always do about my life and circumstances – I even said I don’t mind the food situation in quarantine,’ Sierra wrote in an Instagram story.
She also said that she gave away tens of thousands of dollars during quarantine to help those in need but that this had been ignored by the media in their criticism of her latest comments.
Some players including Storm Sanders (centre) have not been confined and are able to train under strict conditions
Brazil’s Marcelo Melo is among those players still allowed to train, albeit under strict conditions, as he did not come into contact with anyone that later tested positive for coronavirus
Some 72 players are confined to their hotel rooms after coming into contact with someone who later tested positive for coronavirus on a chartered flight. Pictured: Latisha Chan (centre) of Taiwan is among the players still allowed to train