Novak Djokovic responds to Nick Kyrgios latest morally wrong Australian Open comments

Novak Djokovic celebrates Serbia's WC qualification

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Novak Djokovic has responded after Nick Kyrgios discussed the world No 1’s potential participation at the Australian Open on his ‘No Boundaries’ podcast. Djokovic has been in doubt for the season-opening Grand Slam as government officials look to make full vaccination mandatory, while the nine-time champion does not want to disclose his vaccination status.

With uncertainties growing over the fate of unvaccinated players at January’s Australian Open, home hope Nick Kyrgios recently joined in the debate.

The 26-year-old recently started a podcast with two of his childhood friends, and discussed the prospect of unjabbed players coming to Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of 2022 during the second episode of ‘No Boundaries’.

He hit headlines when he said he wanted the tournament to be cancelled next year, but later clarified his comments.

“I don’t think the Aus Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne – you’ve got to send a message,” he said on the ‘GOAT’ episode, discussing next year’s edition of the tournament.

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Days later, the world No 90 took to his Instagram Story to backtrack, saying it “wasn’t what he meant”.

“To say that I’d want the Australian Open cancelled, I think that was the sentence that got taken out of context,” he said, addressing his comments from his new podcast, created with two of his childhood friends.

“It’s more so for the people of Melbourne, who have gone through hell and back. I think it’s been 275 days, nearly 300 days of lockdown and your freedom has been taken away from you.

“I don’t think it’s morally right to accept players from overseas that are not vaccinated to come into our country and waltz around Melbourne free-will to play the Australian Open.”

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Although Kyrgios said it wouldn’t be “right” for unjabbed players to come to Melbourne, he did support athletes who refused to get vaccinated in the same podcast episode, saying he didn’t agree with them being “forced” to get jabbed in order to compete – something Djokovic has been against.

“I’m double-vaxxed but I just don’t think it’s right to force anyone, yet an athlete, (and say) you can’t come here and play because you’re not vaccinated,” he said on the episode.

Now, Djokovic has responded to the Aussie’s comments, and admitted he was surprised to hear Kyrgios agree with him after their previous feud, as the 26-year-old has previously admitted he didn’t have “much respect” for the world No 1 and called him a “strange cat”.

“That was unexpected,” the 34-year-old laughed, when Kyrgios’ comments were put to him during his post-match press conference at the ATP Finals.

“Knowing what was coming from him towards me in the last couple of years. But this time I must agree with him that the freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it’s me or somebody else.

“Doesn’t really matter whether it’s vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose, to decide what you want to do. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body.

“I have been always a proponent of that and always a supporter of freedom of choice, and I will be always supporting that because freedom is essential for I’d say a happy and prosperous life.”

When asked whether he had heard the former world No 13’s comments before they were put to him in Wednesday’s (November 17), the Serb simply said: “I have read, yes, few days ago.”

Djokovic has previously cast doubt over his participation in Melbourne, telling Serbian newspaper Blic last month: “I don’t know if I’m going to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.

“I have my opinion and it has always been the same. I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not.”

He has since declared that he will not comment on the matter anymore, until a final decision on the participation of unvaccinated players is announced by tournament organisers.
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