Nick Kyrgios clarifies suggestion to cancel Australian Open

Nick Kyrgios says it's
Nick Kyrgios says it's "morally wrong" to force athletes into a COVID-19 vaccination. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Nick Kyrgios has hosed down suggestions he wants this summer's Australian Open to be cancelled, following an off-the-cuff remark on his new podcast.

The Canberra tennis star said "I don't think the Oz Open should go ahead, in my opinion", before clarifying his comments on Tuesday afternoon via social media.

"To say that I'd want to Australian Open cancelled, I think that was the sentence that got taken out of context," Kyrgios said.

"Tennis has been such a big part of my life for 15 years plus. I've given myself a lot of sacrifice every single day for this sport and I love it.

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

Kyrgios also claimed on his No Boundaries podcast that it was "morally wrong" to force athletes into a COVID jab, suggesting sporting officials should find alternative solutions for unvaccinated athletes so they can still compete.

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The 26-year-old's support of unvaccinated athletes comes after he publicly decried world number one Novak Djokovic last year for his behaviour in Europe at the height of the pandemic.

Djokovic's participation at January's Australian Open remains up in the air, with the 34-year-old unwilling to declare his vaccination status which he describes as a "private matter".

"There's other solutions around it, to get tested every day, in the [United] States they've got rapid tests and it's coming to Australia," Kyrgios said.

"[It's an] 85 per cent success rate, it takes 15 minutes. You wait 15 minutes and you get a negative test and I think then you're allowed to play.

"If they just know they're going to be tested every day, every second day, they're not going to be lying about their vaccination status."

Several big-name athletes around the world have refused to be vaccinated for COVID-19, with varying levels of on-field implications.

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers must return a negative test before he's allowed to take to the field for Green Bay.

Basketball superstar Kyrie Irving is the biggest NBA name who has refused a needle, leading to him being sidelined by Patty Mills's Brooklyn Nets until he has at least one vaccination shot.

Kyrgios said, "I just think Kyrie, Novak. . .these guys have given so much, sacrificed so much. 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 vaccinated."

This story Kyrgios clarifies suggestion to cancel Australian Open first appeared on The Canberra Times.