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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday January 18, 2020

 
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic made some demands on behalf of the players in Melbourne, but they were not given consideration.

Photo Source: Mark Peterson / Corleve

Novak Djokovic has made an attempt to help the players on “hard” lockdown in Melbourne, but his efforts have been rebuffed by the powers that be.

We learned on Sunday that the Serb had penned a letter to Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, asking that a list of requests on behalf of the players be met.


Among them: Reduced time in isolation if players continually test negative, and the ability to meet and talk with coaches, under the same circumstances (negative test).

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews chimed in, rebuffing the World No.1 rather curtly.

“The rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else and they were all briefed on that before they came ... There's no special treatment here” he said.

Earlier, the quarantine commissioner Emma Cassar weighed in with a firm no to Djokovic.


For the record, Djokovic and five other top players are quarantining in Adelaide, where they will spend the next two weeks before playing a high profile, money-making exhibition for the public.

It hasn’t been hotly discussed in the media yet, but there are rumblings that players are upset at the inequalities they are seeing. Elite players with big entourages in Adelaide, who have reportedly been told to be careful about what they post on social media due to the fact that it might spark resentment among the bulk of the players, now locked down in Melbourne.


Djokovic, for the record, wasn’t reportedly keen on the idea of playing at Adelaide at first.

As might have been expected, Nick Kyrgios jumped into the fray and called Djokovic a “tool” on social media (Note: the video below gives insight into the feelings of the Australian people about the current situation on the ground in Melbourne.)


The clear message being sent from Australians in the media is that they are not prepared to let the tennis tours destroy what they have worked for as a community for the last half year. With cases down around zero all over the country, Australians are well within their rights to want to run a tight ship and ensure that players follow the strict protocols put in place.

From a players’ perspective, some feel blindsided and claim they were not made aware of the fact that they could so easily be deemed a “close contact” of any positive tests that occurred on their planes, and therefore be shuttled into isolation.

Most had, rather naively, failed to consider the worst-case scenario and instead settled in their minds on a strict quarantine with at least five hours out of the room and on the courts in Melbourne Park.

For 72 players a harsher reality has set in, and not even Djokovic can save them now.


 

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