Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios criticized the handling of the Novak Djokovic visa situation ahead of next week’s Australian Open, saying Tuesday he feels “embarrassed” considering all Djokovic’s “done for the sport.”
Kyrgios, who pulled out of the Sydney Tennis Classic on Monday after testing positive for COVID-19, shared his frustrations on his Instagram Stories.
Nick Kyrgios of Team World reacts during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Team Europe on Day 2 of the 2021 Laver Cup at TD Garden on Sept. 25, 2021, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for Laver Cup)
“I don’t want this to take away from the Australian summer of tennis. We’ve had a lot of great results, a lot of other Aussies are doing really well, and we know that the media like to create s— storms with my story and everything going on with Novak,” he began.
“I feel quite embarrassed as an Australian athlete that’s seen what this guy has done for us and for the sport. I just don’t think it’s right how we’re handling it, but the media loves to do that, loves to divide, and I don’t want this to take away from any of the great results all the other Australians are having.”
Novak Djokovic of Serbia snakes hands with Nick Kyrgios of Australia after losing the match as part of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel 2017 at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess on March 2, 2017 in Mexico. (Miguel Tovar/LatinContent via Getty Images)
Djokovic announced last week that he was headed to Melbourne after being granted a medical exemption. Upon arrival, the World No. 1 was immediately detained and questioned for hours on his exemption, which was granted on the basis that he had contracted COVID-19 within a six-month period.
Transcripts of his exchange with Australian Border Force revealed that this reasoning was not considered valid enough for a medical exemption – a point Djokovic contested, saying he had been granted the visa based on this medical exemption, which was given by Tennis Australia and two medical panels, including one by the Victorian state government, and that he had complied fully with the information requested of him prior to his arrival in Australia.
His visa was canceled but later reinstated on Monday by a federal judge who ruled that the government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was “unreasonable” and that he had not been given enough time to speak to his lawyers before the decision was made.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne on Feb. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Dadswell, File)
Both Djokovic and Kyrgios’ attendance at the Australian Open remains in question – albeit for different reasons. Kyrgios said Tuesday that he is still hopeful he will be able to recover in time for the Grand Slam tournament on Jan. 17.
“I actually don’t feel too bad at the moment, and I’m taking all necessary precautions,” he said on his Instagram stories. “Obviously not ideal a week out from the Australian Open, but I’m going to do everything in my power to feel okay and get out there and hopefully give you all a show.”