'The morals I've grown up with': Nick Kyrgios will call out tennis stars ahead of Australian Open

Nick Kyrgios says he will continue to hold tennis players accountable. Picture: Jamila Toderas
Nick Kyrgios says he will continue to hold tennis players accountable. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Nick Kyrgios will continue to call out tennis stars for overriding health protocols with his newfound role as the sport's voice of reason sparked by "the morals I've grown up with".

Kyrgios labelled Novak Djokovic "a tool" last week after the world No. 1 sent Tennis Australia a list of demands regarding quarantine arrangements on the road to the Australian Open.

It was the latest shot fired at Djokovic after Kyrgios blasted him for partying and playing in tournaments during a controversial exhibition tournament in June last year.

Djokovic was among a handful of players who tested positive for COVID-19 following the tournament, which Kyrgios believes set a poor example for the sport.

"He's technically our LeBron James with the way he has to set an example for all tennis players out there, he sets an example for tennis," Kyrgios said on CNN on Tuesday.

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"When he was doing some of the things he was doing during the global pandemic, it just wasn't the right time. I know everyone makes mistakes, some of us go off track sometimes.

"We have to hold each other accountable, we're colleagues at the end of the day. We compete against each other, we're playing the same sport. No one else was really holding him accountable.

"Everyone loses their way a little bit, but I think he needed to just pull it back.

"These are the morals I've grown up with and I was just trying to do my part."

Djokovic found himself in the firing line after writing to Australian Open boss Craig Tiley with six demands he wanted actioned for the 72 players in lockdown in Melbourne.

Nick Kyrgios is preparing for an Australian Open tilt. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Nick Kyrgios is preparing for an Australian Open tilt. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Players in quarantine are unable to train outside their hotel rooms for 14 days after positive COVID-19 tests on tournament charter flights coming into Australia.

But Kyrgios has rubbished the complaints of those stuck in hotel rooms, adamant "health and safety always comes first" and there is "no real reason" to complain.

The 25-year-old has been out of action for the best part of a year after refusing to travel to international tournaments at the height of the pandemic.

But Kyrgios believes Melbourne provides a safe environment to host the Australian Open as he prepares to play in an ATP 250 event before the tournament.

"At the end of the day, it is only a tennis tournament we're playing, and I don't think it should override health protocols and put other people at risk. They knew when they got here what the restrictions were going to be," Kyrgios said.

Nick Kyrgios feels safe about playing the Australian Open. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Nick Kyrgios feels safe about playing the Australian Open. Picture: Jamila Toderas

"In Melbourne, obviously with the bubble, I think they've done an incredible job there. The authorities aren't letting up, making sure everyone is sticking to the rules.

"I actually feel quite safe. I didn't really feel safe during last year, travelling and playing overseas, I thought it was a bit too soon to play. I think as a whole, Melbourne is going to do really well.

"I wouldn't be playing in events I don't feel comfortable with, that's for sure. That's the stand I took last year with everything going on, I didn't feel it was the correct time to be playing.

"Now, the conditions are safe enough. Everyone is going to work together and make sure we do it the right way."

This story 'The morals I've grown up with': Why Kyrgios took a stand first appeared on The Canberra Times.