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Novak Djokovic says he’s open to NBA-style bubble after advancing in Australian Open

  • February 16, 2021

after he eliminated No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinal.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after winning the third set against Germany's Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open.

The NBA resumed its play during last season in a restrictive bubble environment in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Twenty-two teams traveled there and all stayed in the nearby hotels and resorts at Walt Disney World, where games were played at the 220-acre ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

After players arrived at the bubble, the NBA reported no positive cases of COVID-19.

Djokovic, who is the ATP’s top-ranked player in the world, has expressed his disagreement with the quarantine structures in place after the contents of a letter he sent to to Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley were leaked. Among Djokovic’s demands in the letter, via 7News in Victoria, Australia: move players to houses with a court, better food, reduce the number of days of isolation and permission to visit a coach. 

Djokovic later tried to clarify his criticisms in a social media post.

Djokovic sustained a stomach muscle injury in the third round of the tournament and said Tuesday he thought the issue might be linked to the quarantine measures the players had to face upon arrival in Australia.

“I don’t want to sit here, complain about what we have been through,” Djokovic said. “But we have to be honest and realistic that it has an effect on the physical well-being of players. Of course also mental, emotional, but physically, I mean, this is not normal.”

Zverev agreed with Djokovic’s assessment on the need for a bubble, saying: “We can’t have a traveling circuit right now.”

Djokovic will face 27-year-old Russian player Aslan Karatsev Wednesday in the semifinal.

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