Search icon


18th Jan 2021

“Djokovic is a tool” – Tennis world turned upside down in day of days

Niall McIntyre

You can understand the frustration felt by Novak Djokovic and his fellow quarantined tennis stars…to a point

The food from their Victorian base does look fairly bog standard. We’ll give them that.

Having to train from a hotel room in the week leading up to a career defining grand slam is hardly ideal and without doubt, a huge culture shock for these obsessive and perfectionist professionals. That’s for sure.

When you’ve plans in place to ramp up, gear up and fine-tune the machine, it is an exasperating and an incensing thing when they are taken out of your hands. Just ask any sportsperson deprived of a gym, a park, a game or a competition these days.

But these, unfortunately, are obstacles and exasperations the whole world – regardless of privilege, ability or ambition – is facing right now and while that doesn’t make the restrictions 100% right, it does mean that you’d be better off just getting on with it and making do with your lot.

A frustrated Djokovic reportedly took it upon himself to compile a list of demands for himself and his 72 fellow quarantined players on Monday. Some of the demands are understandable, such as fitness and training materials in all rooms, better food, permission to visit your coach. But when he moved onto ‘private housing,’ that was the moment he lost the crowd.

  • Fitness and training material in all rooms
  • Better food for athletes
  • Reduce days of isolation for players in hard isolation and carry out more tests to confirm negatives
  • Permission to visit your coach or physical trainer, as long as both have passed tests
  • Grant both the player and his coach to be on the same floor of the hotel
  • Move as many players as possible to private houses with a tennis court to facilitate training.

The famously blunt Nick Kyrgios tweeted calling Djokovic a “tool,” on the back of his list while the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also gave him a short shrift.

“People are free to provide a list of demands. But the answer is no,” Andrews said, “That was the condition on which they came. There’s no special treatment here.”

An Australian news bulletin below carried the footage of Bernard Tomic’s Love Island star girlfriend Vanessa Sierra claiming that she “never washes her own hair,” as she struggled to cope with the quarantine.

In fairness, when compared to those goings on, Novak Djokovic comes across a complete angel. Heather Watson meanwhile, is undeterred by it all, the former British number one running 5k in her hotel room.