Nick Kyrgios says the 2022 Australian Open should be canceled rather than players needing to be fully vaccinated to compete.
As debate continues to rage about whether or not unvaccinated tennis stars should be allowed to compete at Melbourne Park, Kyrgios believes next year's tournament should be scrapped altogether.
The headline grabber used his podcast No Boundaries to air his opinion, amid continued uncertainty about the vaccination status of world No.1 and nine-times Open champion Novak Djokovic.
"I'm double vaxxed but I just don't think it's right to force anyone, yet an athlete, (and say) you can't come here and play because you're not vaccinated," Kyrgios said.
"(NBA star) Kyrie (Irving), Novak, these guys have given so much, sacrificed so much.
"They're global athletes who millions of people look up to and I just feel like it's so morally wrong to force someone to get vaxxed.
"There's other solutions around it."
Kyrgios suggested Open organisers could follow the lead of US sports who use daily rapid antigen tests.
"And rapid tests are coming to Australia. They're 85 per cent success rate and it takes 15 minutes," he said.
"You wait 15 minutes and you get a negative test and I think then you're allowed to play."
Kyrgios said if the Open does proceed, as planned from January 17, strict precautions need to be in place to guarantee the safety of Victorians who have endured the most severe lockdowns in the world during the global pandemic.
"I don't think the Oz Open should go ahead, in my opinion. Just for the people in Melbourne, like you've got to send a message," he said.
"Like how long did you guys do in lockdown? Two-hundred and 75 days or something?"
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews last week maintained no players or fans would be permitted entry to Melbourne Park unless they were fully vaccinated.
Sports Minister Martin Pakula on Tuesday was quick to shoot down Kyrgios's call to cancel the Open.
"I really like Nick Kyrgios and I cheer for him every time he plays and I certainly don't want to have beef with Nick Kyrgios but I actually couldn't follow the logic of his comments," Pakula said.
"We've had a long lockdown so the Australian Open shouldn't proceed? "I'm not sure I follow that.
"I think the opposite applies.
"Melburnians, Victorians and, frankly all Australians, are absolutely gagging for major events.
"Our economy needs it, our state psyche needs it.
"It's a global grand slam, it's going to go ahead."
Tennis Australia is known to be none too pleased with Kyrgios's comments.
But with a ranking of No. 90 in the world, the one-time Australian Open quarter-finalist still has a direct entry into his home major - should he choose to play - and at least won't require Craig Tiley's generosity of a wildcard invite.
Pakula doubled down on Andrews' insistence that all players must be vaccinated to play the season-opening slam.
"The premier made it clear a few weeks ago - we won't be applying for any exemptions for unvaccinated players," he said, adding that all final government rulings would likely be laid out to Tennis Australia in the coming week.