Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has said that he understands the disappointments and frustrations of Australian tennis fans owing to the strict lockdown rules that is prevailing in the country.
The 33-year-old got into all sorts of troubles after the coronavirus imposed strict restrictions on the players who traveled to Australia. Djokovic, who will head into the Australian Open as the defending champion, drew flak after demanding certain relaxations in quarantine rules for players in an open letter to Tennis Australia.
He later issued a statement, clarifying that his ‘noble intentions’ had been ‘misconstrued’ as he had only spoken up for players who are being subjected to hard quarantine, without the option of practice.
In an interview to an Australian radio network, the World Number 1 said he feels grateful to be quarantining in Adelaide and wants to clear up misperceptions around his letter that sparked off a furious debate in the country.
“We do want to feel welcome here. I understand the frustrations of the people, heading up here and having got special permission when a lot of Australian citizens are being unable to come back home,” Djokovic said.
He added that he was hopeful that the players, through their performances, would be able to bring a measure of happiness to people who are having to endure a lot of hardship owing to tough lockdown rules in Victoria.
“I hope all of us together can have, at least, some good time on tennis courts and hopefully bring some positive energy and joy to people,” Djokovic said.
The Australian Open has been marred by controversies even before its commencement. Three plane-loads of players were forced into hard quarantine without practice after some crew members tested positive for COVID-19. As many as 10 people involved with the tournament, including four players, have since tested positive.