Nick Kyrgios backtracks on comments that Australian Open should be cancelled due to unvaccinated players 8 months ago

Nick Kyrgios backtracks on comments that Australian Open should be cancelled due to unvaccinated players

"It's more so for the people of Melbourne, who have gone through hell and back."

Tennis maverick Nick Kyrgios has backtracked on comments supporting unvaccinated athletes, now claiming it would not be "morally right" to let them play at the Australian Open.

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Government officials in Australia have stated that unvaccinated players will be banned from the Grand Slam in January, leading to doubts as to whether men's world No 1 and reigning champion Novak Djokovic - who is believed to be unvaccinated - will defend his title.

On Tuesday, Kyrgios said that the tournament should be cancelled and that it was "morally wrong" to force athletes to get vaccinated.

However, on the same day, he claimed that his comments about his home major in Melbourne had been taken out of context.

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"To say that I'd want the Australian Open cancelled, I think that was the sentence that got taken out of context," he said in a video on his Instagram account.

"It's more so for the people of Melbourne, who have gone through hell and back.

"I think it's been nearly 300 days of lockdown and your freedom has been, you know, taken away from you.

"I don't think it's morally right to accept players from overseas that aren't vaccinated to come into our country."

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Speaking on his podcast, Kyrgios said that he was "double-vaxxed" but stated that he didn't think it was right to force anyone - including athletes - to get vaccinated.

"Kyrie (Irving), Novak (Djokovic), these guys have given so much, sacrificed so much," he said.

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"They're global athletes who millions of people look up to, and I just feel like it's so morally wrong to force someone to get vaxxed.

"There's other solutions around it."

The sports minister of Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, has reiterated that unvaccinated players, fans and staff would be banned from the tournament, admitting that he was confused by Kyrgios's comments.

"I really like Nick Kyrgios and I cheer for him every time he plays and I certainly don't want to have beef with Nick Kyrgios, but I actually couldn't follow the logic of his comments," minister Martin Pakula said.

"We've had a long lockdown, so the Australian Open shouldn't proceed? I'm not sure I follow that.

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"I think the opposite applies.

"Melburnians, Victorians and, frankly all Australians, are absolutely gagging for major events."

The 2022 Australian Open will begin on Monday 17 January and ends on Sunday 30 January.

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