'Not allowed': Australian Open boss lifts lid on Novak Djokovic furore

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Novak Djokovic and Craig Tiley, pictured here after the Australian Open final.
Novak Djokovic speaks with Craig Tiley after winning the Australian Open. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has lifted the lid on the controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic's quarantine requests before the Australian Open.

Djokovic sparked widespread criticism before the Australian Open even began when a list of quarantine requests he had sent to Tiley was leaked to the media.

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At the time they were being reported as "demands", with the World No.1 asking for some ridiculous changes to be made to quarantine conditions for international tennis stars.

Speaking on 3AW radio on Thursday, Tiley said the list was far from a demand and the criticism it attracted was “unfair", while admitting some of the requests were definitely not allowed.

“He says some things which sometimes turn some people off,” Tiley said.

“Behind the scenes, he sent me a WhatsApp message when they were in Adelaide doing their quarantine program and he had a bunch of suggestions to try and help the 72 athletes who were in the isolated quarantine (in Melbourne).

"Half of which weren’t practical and wouldn’t be allowed and the other half which were possible.

“Then it turned out someone on his own team or someone in the ATP leaked that and then it looked like he sent a list of demands which was probably an unfair criticism of him because we were having an open dialogue.”

Djokovic had reportedly asked for fitness and training material in all rooms; better food; a reduction in the number days in quarantine for the 72 isolated players; permission to visit coaches or physical trainers and have them on the same floor of the hotel; and as many players as possible moved to private houses with tennis courts.

The more outlandish of the requests were met with widespread disdain among fans and commentators.

Djokovic hits back at critics after winning Australian Open

After winning his ninth Australian Open and 18th grand slam title, Djokovic hit back at his detractors and slammed the doubters.

Djokovic thumped Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 in Sunday night's final before taking aim at his critics.

On top of the quarantine drama, the Serb was also accused of exaggerating an abdominal injury during his five-set third-round win over Taylor Fritz.

"Emotionally (this) was one of hardest tournaments I had, to be honest, with quarantine and a lot of things happening in the media," the World No.1 said.

"The letter that I wrote, ideas and recommendations that I got from players was misinterpreted as my request and list of demands.

Craig Tiley and Novak Djokovic, pictured here at a media opportunity with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.
Craig Tiley congratulates Novak Djokovic during a media opportunity with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

"Then the next thing you know within a couple of days I'm persona non grata in this country.

"I got injured in the third round. It was a rollercoaster ride if I can define it in one word. I think it makes it even sweeter for me."

Djokovic maintained he tore a stomach muscle against Fritz, and that the injury still hadn't fully healed.

"I wanted to keep things quiet and clear for me in terms of talking about the injury or any other stuff. Just keeping it to tennis," the Serb said.

"Once the tournament is done, I mean, (I can say) it's a muscle tear. It was a muscle tear at that point.

"I don't think I've experienced that kind of a snap that I have in the third round. I went to MRI. MRI has shown a tear.

"People questioned that."

with AAP

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