WASHINGTON, January 21, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is never one to shy away from speaking his mind and sometimes it stirs controversy. Earlier this week, Djokovic presented a list of suggestions – some called them demands – to Tennis Australia chief executive and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley that drew a lot of criticism from Australians and media skepticism.
On Wednesday, Djokovic wrote an open letter to Australians that he posted on his social media platforms to try to clear the air and share his point of view.
In light of recent media and social media criticism for my letter to Craig Tiley (Tournament director of Australian Open), I would like to clarify a few things.
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,” Djokovic expressed.
“I’ve earned my privileges the hard way, and for that reason, it’s 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 & insignificant in the world pecking order.”
“You can argue with Djokovic about many things,” New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey wrote on Twitter, “but there is no arguing about him earning his privileges the hard way.”
Click on the link to read Novak Djokovic’s entire letter:
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 20, 2021
Johanna Konta: Emotions running high
Great Britain’s Johanna Konta is one of the “lucky ones” who wasn’t on a coronavirus positive flight that arrived last week in Melbourne, but she told Australia’s The Today Show that she’s sympathetic to what players are going through.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) January 19, 2021
Maria Sakkari: Making the most of her quarantine time
World No. 22 Maria Sakkari of Greece is one of 72 players who is under strict lockdown during the 14-day mandatory quarantine in Melbourne. Recently, she penned an essay for The Times of London describing her quarantine period. She has launched a fitness brand that taps into her Greek heritage.
Get ready to spar with a Spartan 🥊
— TENNIS (@Tennis) January 20, 2021
Barbora Strycova: ‘I have to be as positive as I can’
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic is playing in her 19th Australian Open. She’s one of the unlucky 72 who are under a strict lockdown. But, as she said this week, “I have to be as positive as I can be.”
— TENNIS (@Tennis) January 20, 2021
Heather Watson: ‘Quarantine made me do it’
— Heather Watson (@HeatherWatson92) January 20, 2021
Edouard Roger-Vasselin: Making Rube Goldberg proud
— EdouardRogerVasselin (@ERogerVasselin) January 20, 2021
Serena Williams: Art meets tennis
Very cool artwork from Redditor u/artbyamac:
Serena Williams, drawn only using 23s in honor of her Open Era record of Grand Slam singles titles. pic.twitter.com/RnzFgfl4rz
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 20, 2021
Alex de Minaur: The joy of a good hit
When we saw Alex de Minaur a few days ago, he sat patiently waiting in his room for the chance to go hit that never came. On Wednesday, the young Australian got his chance.
— alex de minaur (@alexdeminaur) January 20, 2021
What they’re saying
Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia chief executive, on the top tennis stars who are quarantining in Adelaide: “I get the feeling it is perceived as preferential treatment. But they’re the top players in the world. My general rule is if you’re at the top of the game, a Grand Slam champion, it’s just the nature of the business. You are going to get a better deal.”
Craig Tiley weighs in on the perception of preferential treatment of tennis’ top players at Adelaide. “It’s just the nature of the business.”
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) January 21, 2021
Happy 23rd Birthday, Frances Tiafoe
“I obviously wasn’t a normal tennis story”
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) January 20, 2021
Kei Nishikori: Speaking his mind
This. No doubt players are in extremely privileged positions, but it’s not quite as simple as staying in a room for two weeks for $100k. There will be some justified anxiety about throwing themselves straight into competition afterward. https://t.co/ykfqgjHkWi
— Blair Henley (@BlairHenley) January 19, 2021