Novak Djokovic dropped a bombshell on Tennis Australia organisers after withdrawing from his exhibition match only hours after leaving quarantine, only to stun fans and reverse his decision.
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Part of the reason was for the players to take part in an exhibition event called ‘A Day at the Drive’, despite outrage from other players in Melbourne that the Adelaide contingent were receiving preferential treatment.
Much to the dismay of some players, Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley confirmed the top stars in Adelaide were receiving preferential treatment for their role in the exhibition.
But only hours after being released from 14 days in quarantine, World No.1 Djokovic dropped a bombshell on the event organisers and withdrew from his clash citing blisters on his right hand.
Filip Krajinovic has replaced him against young Italian Jannick Sinner.
Fans shocked over Djokovic withdrawal
Djokovic’s late withdrawal shocked fans on social media and even had some fuming.
Novak Djokovic out of today's "A Day at the Drive" exhibition event in Adelaide.
Part of the deal for top players to quarantine in Adelaide was that they would play an event as thanks to SA Government ahead of coming to Melbourne.
Yet to hear of Djokovic's reason.#AusOpen
— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) January 29, 2021
After all that fun on his balcony, #1 Novak Djokovic withdrew from tonight's exhibition match in Adelaide.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 29, 2021
Novak Djokovic withdrew from the Adelaide exho.
Filip Krajinovic will play Jannik Sinner in 15 minutes or so.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 29, 2021
this dude find out in that moment that Novak Djokovic was not going to play. pour soul. pic.twitter.com/yzpEbXbmAl
— val (@valdeff) January 29, 2021
Woah - Novak Djokovic pulls out of the Adelaide exhibition at the last minute....Filip Krajinovic is the one to take his place to play Jannik Sinner. Didn't expect that.
— Jake Davies (@jakedavi5) January 29, 2021
— Liam Thompson (@liamthompson1) January 29, 2021
— Beth (@ExcellBeth) January 29, 2021
However, only moments later, Djokovic appeared on court and took part in the exhibition match.
Novak Djokovic walks barefoot in park
Only hours before withdrawing from the event, Djokovic was pictured walking barefoot in an Adelaide park.
"I want to thank again ... police and health department officials for making this day possible," Djokovic said at a brief media call before the Memorial Drive exhibition event.
Well this is something you don’t see every day. Novak Djokovic on a park bench in North Adelaide pic.twitter.com/IAxSKnlr2F
— Simeon Thomas-Wilson (@Simeon_TW) January 28, 2021
"Conditions were great for us, considering the circumstances."
Djokovic immediately went for a stroll when released from hotel confines.
"A walk in the park, just putting bare feet on the ground," he said.
"Just doing something that I didn't have a chance to do. So just having space, that is what we all kind of missed."
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