Conor McGregor has urged Novak Djokovic and the Australian Open tennis players to “get their act together” following complaints over quarantine restrictions. The tournament organisers were forced to implement strict lockdown measures which include 14 days in isolation, following several positive coronavirus cases on charter flights to Australia.
The decision affects more than 70 of the 1200 players, coaches and various staff that will be in attendance ahead of the competition’s start date next month.
Novak Djokovic is among those currently isolating and the world No 1 wrote to Tennis Australia chief Craig Tilley, requesting that quarantine restrictions were eased, listing several recommendations.
The letter has received fierce criticism, most notably from the Australian public who are adamant that tennis players have no right to be exempt when travelling to their country.
Now UFC star McGregor has taken the chance to have his say and the 32-year-old is frustrated with the lack of respect towards the tournament organisers and Australian public.
“I am surprised the tennis players would be kicking up,” the Irishman said when speaking on Australian TV.
“We have got to correct ourselves here, you know. There is a lot going on. There is a lot at risk. It is everyone’s duty here on this Earth to do what they can.
“To get to compete in such a prestigious tennis tournament or any tournament, a two-week lockdown prior – they should welcome that with open arms.”
McGregor then went further, by urging the players to respect the regulations and enjoy the chance to compete at the tournament for the enjoyment of those at home going through difficult times.
“I would urge the tennis players to get their act together and also embrace it and relish it and be happy they get to compete,” he added.
“People can’t go to work and children can’t even go to school. Professional athletes are complaining about a bit of isolation? Come on, guys.”
Djokovic has since taken the time to compose a lengthy statement to justify his actions, which he feels have portrayed him in a negative light.
He wrote on Instagram: “I understand very well how the world is run and who gets bigger and better and why. I’ve earned my privileges the hard way, and for that reason, it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker.
“Things in the media escalated and there was a genuine impression that the players, including myself, are ungrateful, weak and selfish because of their unpleasant feelings in quarantine.
“I am very sorry that it has come to that because I do know how grateful many are.
“We all came to Australia to compete. Not being able to train and prepare before the tournament starts is really not easy.
“None of us ever questioned 14 days of quarantine despite what is being said by media outlets.”