Controversial Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has called for the cancellation of the 2022 Australian Open due to Melbourne’s recent Covid-19 lockdowns.
The outspoken tennis star, ranked 90th in the world, made the shocking claim of grand slam on his ‘No Boundaries’ podcast.
Kyrgios, 26, also jumped to the defense of rival Novak Djokovic, who may not be able to defend his Australian Open crown in January due to a new mandate for players to be vaccinated.
Nick Kyrgios (pictured competing at the tournament in February) has called for the cancellation of the January Australian Open grand slam
“I do not think the Aus Open should continue, only for the people of Melbourne – you have to send a message,” Kyrgios said on the podcast.
‘How long did (Melbourne) do in the lockdown? 275 days or something? ‘
Melbourne were thrown out in a snap five-day lockdown in the middle of this year’s Australian Open in February. Grand slam continued behind closed doors.
Kyrgios, who is fully vaccinated, said he believed Djokovic should be able to compete regardless of his vaccination status.
He also referred to American basketball star Kyrie Irving, who has missed the start of the NBA season due to his refusal to get the plug.
Kyrgios has previously been critical of Djokovic’s antics on the tennis court during the pandemic.
In 2021, he called the Serb a ‘tool’ to demand relaxed hotel quarantine conditions for tennis players isolating themselves ahead of the Australian Open.
But Kyrgios appeared to have changed his mind during a chat with his two best friends Alex Babanine and James Frawley on their No Boundaries podcast.
‘Kyrie, Novak … These guys have given so much, sacrificed so much. They are global athletes that millions of people look up to, “Kyrgios said.
‘I just think it’s so morally wrong to force someone to get vaccinated.
‘I’m double vaccinated, but I just do not think it’s right to force anyone (to be vaccinated) and say’ you can not come and play here because you are not vaccinated ‘.
‘There are other solutions around it, (such as) being tested every day. In the states, I know they have fast tests and it’s coming to Australia. It’s 85 percent success rate, you wait 15 minutes and then you’re allowed to play. ‘
Kyrgios jumped to the defense of world number one Novak Djokovic (pictured with wife Jelena), who may not be able to defend his Australian Open crown
Unvaccinated stars are likely to be barred from competing in Melbourne as Victoria recovers from a third wave of coronavirus.
Premier Daniel Andrews has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes competing in domestic sports leagues and has hinted that tennis stars who have not been stabbed may not get visas to get Down Under.
Victoria’s vaccination mandate forced AFL Carlton player Liam Jones to retire early on Sunday.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke recently confirmed that Djokovic would not be allowed to go to Australia unless he was double-vaccinated.
Djokovic has hinted that he would rather give up his title defense and the quest for a record-breaking 21st grand slam than reveal his vaccination status.
Twice-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is also set to miss the Australian Open for the second year in a row as he recovers from a third knee operation in 18 months.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) may not be able to defend his 2021 Australian Open crown
Despite calls for the January tournament to be scrapped, Kyrgios still insists the Australian Open is his favorite grand slam and the French Open as ‘the worst f ***** g slam’.
Reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne in 2015 remains Kyrgio’s best result at a grand slam.
“The Australian is my favorite slam with the home crowd, the pressure is so different,” he said.
‘Everyone expects so much from you, I can do nothing without the media being there – it’s brutal.’
Nick Kyrgios (pictured with on-off girlfriend Chiara Passari) still considers the Australian Open his favorite grand slam