'Don't want to go ahead': Novak Djokovic's staggering admission

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Novak Djokovic (pictured) discussing quarantine with reporters at a press conference.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) put the tennis world on notice after claiming players were not keen on quarantining for further events in the 2021 season. (Image: Australian Open)

Novak Djokovic has put the ATP and other nations on alert after claiming players would rather sit out the current season if quarantine becomes mandatory throughout the year.

Shortly after arriving in Australia, the World No.1 caused controversy when he emailed Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley with a list of recommendations to change quarantine restrictions for those in hard lockdown.

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Djokovic was widely criticised in the Australian community, despite tennis legends calling for the public to give him another chance after Tiley said the list was 'welcomed'.

But following his draining victory over Alexander Zverev in the Australian Open quarter-final, in which Djokovic let his emotions boil over, the World No.1 made the huge call players are already looking to avoid quarantine ahead of tournaments.

During his press conference, Djokovic said competitions needed to be 'realistic' and that quarantine is "not good for the players" and have contributed to the number of injuries at the Australian Open.

"Talking to a lot of players, the majority of the players just don't want to go ahead with the season if we are going to have to quarantine most of the tournaments," Djokovic said.

"This is something that should be discussed, like as of now.

"I spoke to some of the (player) council members and they are saying they have had extensive discussions about that with ATP management.

"I'm waiting for some answers. I want to understand how our continuation of the season post-Australia is going to look like, because this definitely is not good for players in terms of their wellbeing."

Djokovic suggests NBA-style bubble

Djokovic said it wasn't the Grand Slams that he was concerned about, but rather the smaller ATP tournaments that don't offer the same prize money for lower ranked players.

He mentioned an NBA-style bubble, where a number of tournaments would be held at the same location where players could then isolate, could be an option.

"I think that's one of the biggest reasons why a lot of players just came (to the Open) and said, 'OK, we'll accept 14 days quarantine," the World No.1 added.

Novak Djokovic (pictured left) shakes hands with Alexander Zverev after their men's singles quarter-final match on day nine of the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic (pictured left) shakes hands with Alexander Zverev after their men's singles quarter-final match on day nine of the Australian Open. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

"But that's not going to be the case on the ATP events, especially 250, 500 (tournaments).

"For the lower-ranked players, I have heard a lot of complaints. Challenger players, a lot of complaints.

"I'm not pointing fingers at anybody. I'm just speaking the truth, the reality and we have to talk about it.

"We have to find a way, whether it's something like an NBA (basketball) bubble."

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