TENNIS ace Nick Kyrgios has defended the actions of Australian governments towards their strict protocols to protect people from COVID-19, citing fears the world No.47 has for the well-being of his Canberra mum.
The praise comes after warm-up matches for the Australian Open that begins on February 8 were cancelled on Thursday under new Victorian government restrictions.
Some of the world’s tennis stars have previously complained about entering lockdown in Melbourne for 14 days straight after their arrival into Australia.
Kyrgios, who has skipped the world tour for nearly 12 months since the outbreak of the pandemic, was a vocal critic of Novak Djokovic after the Serbian world No.1 ran his own exhibition tournament last year at the height of the pandemic.
The 25-year-old from Watson, who along with advice from his mum Norlaila runs the NK Foundation dedicated to providing a home for disadvantaged and underprivileged children, is more concerned over protecting the public during coronavirus than playing the sport.
“I’m not going to complain about – it’s not about me,” Kyrgios said at a Murray River Open press conference.
“My mum is incredibly sick and if she gets covid … do you know what I mean?
“There’s too much risk in all of this.
“I don’t understand what’s so hard for tennis players to understand.
“Like, you’re just a tennis player. Do you know what I mean? It’s not life and death.”
Close to 600 players, officials and support staff that were not already in the country prior to January were forced to accept Australia’s tough quarantine measures until they are given a negative result.
Play for the ATP Cup between nations and a number of other ATP men’s and WTA women’s warm-up tournaments are expected to resume on Friday.
This follows the confirmation that a worker at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which is one of the quarantine hotels for tennis in Melbourne, tested positive for the virus.
Players were a threat of contracting the virus having been identified as casual contacts after staying at the hotel.
“I think as long as everyone follows the protocols then it’s okay,” Kyrgios said.
“I think we all need to stay to course with everything to make sure it doesn’t erupt or doesn’t take off again because the reality is it’s killing people and it’s not a game.
“I’m sure some people who have had family members be affected by it or lose family members are saying, ‘what the hell are you doing playing a tennis tournament?’.”
The Australian Open has been delayed more than three weeks to comply and satisfy all government-related pandemic criteria.
Kyrgios is looking forward to returning to Melbourne Park next week, but he readily admits “it’s a tough one” whether or not to play his home grand slam.
“It’s such a rich culture in Australian tennis – we have so many legends in the sport,” he said.
“We almost need it in a sense. Whether or not it’s the right time, that’s not for me to say because we are going ahead with it.”