Never shy about butting heads with tennis’ top players, Australian star Nick Kyrgios has declared he ‘ain’t holding back’ in his criticism of world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
Kyrgios had already taken a shot at the Serbian star after he released a list of recommendations to be met for Australian Open players who had landed in hard quarantine.
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Djokovic’s list, which was swiftly knocked back by Australian Open boss Craig Tiley, was enough for Kyrgios to label him a ‘tool’.
It’s not the first time Kyrgios and Djokovic have been at odds, with the Australian star sharply critical of Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour in June last year, which resulted in he and several other top tennis players contracting coronavirus as the pandemic escalated.
Seemingly enjoying another chance to spar with Djokovic, Kyrgios took to unearthing a personal favourite put-down of his from a 2019 episode of the No Challenges Remaining podcast.
“No matter how many grand slams he wins, he will never be the greatest for me,” Kyrgios said during that interview.
“Simply because I’ve played him twice and, I’m sorry, but if you can’t beat me, you’re not the greatest of all time.”
Djokovic hits back at Australian Open critics
Djokovic insists he was not being "selfish, difficult and ungrateful" in speaking out about quarantine conditions for players ahead of the Australian Open.
Ten people who have flown to Melbourne for the first grand slam of the year have tested positive for coronavirus, resulting in 72 players being confined to their rooms.
Djokovic is part of a group of top players enjoying better conditions while quarantining in Adelaide, but the 33-year-old said he had felt obliged to use his "hard-earned" privileges to make suggestions to tournament director Craig Tiley on how to improve conditions for players in Melbourne.
In a long social media post, Djokovic, who has been criticised widely, wrote: "My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
"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.
"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."
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