“Out of context”: Nick Kyrgios discusses the Australian Open cancellation appeal | open from Australia
Nick Kyrgios returned to comments supporting unvaccinated tennis players, saying it would not be “morally fair” to let them play at the Australian Open.
The 26-year-old made headlines in Australia on Tuesday morning after using his podcast, No Boundaries, to call for the cancellation of his home grand slam in 2022 to limit the risk of another outbreak in Melbourne .
He also said it was “morally wrong” to force athletes to get vaccinated.
“I don’t think the Aus Open should be held, just for the people of Melbourne – you have to send a message,” Kyrgios said. “Since when [Melbourne] to do in confinement? Two hundred and seventy-five days or something?
But Tuesday afternoon, Kyrgios returned to his comments via a video post on his Instagram account.
“To say that I would like the Australian Open to be canceled, I think that was the sentence that was taken out of context,” he said.
“This is more true for the people of Melbourne who went through hell and came back from it.
“I think it’s been… almost 300 days of confinement and your freedom has been, you know, taken away from you. I don’t think it’s morally fair to accept players from overseas who are not vaccinated to enter our country.
The tournament is set to go ahead as planned, starting January 17, but it remains uncertain whether players who have not been vaccinated or will not disclose their vaccination status will be allowed to participate.
Authorities have yet to reveal the final decisions on a vaccination policy for players – they will likely be presented to Tennis Australia in the coming week – although Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews remains firm on the position of his state that no exemptions will be granted to unvaccinated athletes.
World number one Novak Djokovic, who is reportedly aiming to win a fourth straight Australian Open, declined to reveal whether he took the vaccine and his appearance at Melbourne Park remains uncertain.
On his podcast, Kyrgios had indicated that he supported players who had not received the vaccine or who did not want to disclose their vaccination status. He expressed his sympathy in particular for Djokovic and Melbourne-born basketball star Kyrie Irving, who missed the start of the NBA season due to his refusal to be vaccinated.
Kyrgios was a vocal critic of Djokovic after last year’s ill-fated charity event, the Adria Tour, which ended with the Serbian and other high profile players testing positive for Covid-19.
“Kyrie, Novak… these guys gave so much, sacrificed so much,” he said.
“They are global athletes that millions of people admire. I just think it’s morally wrong to force someone to get vaccinated. I’m doubly vaccinated, but I just don’t think it’s fair to force anyone and say, “You can’t come and play here because you’re not vaccinated.”
“There are other solutions around this, [such as] get tested every day. In the United States, I know there are rapid tests, and it happens in Australia. It’s an 85% success rate, you wait 15 minutes, you get a negative test and then you are cleared to play.
Victoria’s Sports Minister Martin Pakula rejected Kyrgios’ call to cancel the tournament and said he found the player’s comments confused.
“I really love Nick Kyrgios and cheer him on every time he plays and I certainly don’t want to have a problem with Nick Kyrgios, but I actually couldn’t follow the logic of his comments,” Pakula said. .
“We’ve had a long lockdown so shouldn’t the Australian Open continue? I’m not sure I’m following this. I think the opposite applies. Melburnians, Victorians and frankly all Australians are absolutely on the lookout for major events.
“Our economy needs it, our state psyche needs it. It’s a world grand slam, it will go forward.