Novak Djokovic: Tennis turns on world No 1 over ‘catastrophic’ Adria Tour after contracting coronavirus

World No 1 became the fourth players and seventh person in total to contract Covid-19 after staging a tournament that has been heavily criticised for the lack of social distancing protocols

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Wednesday 24 June 2020 12:19
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Novak Djokovic tests positive for Covid-19

Nick Kyrgios and Andy Murray are among those to have criticised Novak Djokovic after the world No 1 tested positive for coronavirus, following the non-socially distant Adria Tour events.

Djokovic said on Tuesday that he is “deeply sorry” that the Adria Tour - an event organised by the 17-time Grand Slam winner and his brother - had caused so much harm across a number of players who participated.

Djokovic was the fourth player to test positive for coronavirus, following the results of Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, while both Djokovic’s wife and trainer have also contracted the virus.

The apology did little to stem the criticism that flowed the Serbian’s way though, with the decision to stage the series of tournaments across Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia at a time of a global pandemic proving one that has had serious ramifications for the health of those in attendance.

Australian world No 49 Kyrgios, who accused those who chose to play on the Adria Tour earlier in the week of making a “boneheaded decision”, led the criticism of those on the Tour after they enjoyed nights out together where no social distancing was observed due to the lifted restrictions in the south-east European countries.

Kyrgios retweeted a video of Djokovic dancing topless in a nightclub alongside a number of other players, and added: “Prayers up to all the players that have contracted Covid - 19. Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ - this takes the cake.”

Murray was also critical of the Adria Tour, which went ahead despite all tennis currently being placed on hold worldwide due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has seen this year’s French Open rescheduled and Wimbledon cancelled.

"Obviously it's not surprising how many players have tested positive when you see the scenes and the images and the videos from the tournament and the players party with no social distancing in place," Murray said at the 'Battle of Brits' tournament.

"I've seen some people say this puts the US Open in doubt but the measures and the protocols they have in place are completely different to what was going on in Serbia and Croatia.

"For a start, there will be no fans and the players will now know we can all be affected by this, it doesn't matter who you are, we need to respect the rules."

Djokovic poses with a young volunteers and players on 14 June in Belgrade

Former doubles champion-turned-commentator Patrick McEnroe added: "When I sent out a tweet a couple weeks ago about that event in Serbia I said yeah it looks like a normal tennis event to me. I'm not sure everyone got my point.

"Maybe they are starting to get it now. Nothing's foolproof so don't be foolish. That's my message."

As well as hugging each other at the net before and after matches, players were seen playing football and basketball together, and partied in nightclubs that were organised after each day’s play, while fans were allowed to fill up the stadium in Belgrade to capacity, with a 50 per cent restriction on attendance in Zadar.

Murray’s fellow British player Dan Evans said that Djokovic will have to take responsibility for the spread of the illness, given what was put on for participants.

"I don't think he should be having a players' party and dancing all over each other," Evans said.

"Players have tested positive. He should feel some responsibility in his event and how it's transpired, really.

"It's very unfortunate that Grigor has it and Coric has it but you strip it back, is it a surprise? I think that's the question we should all ask."

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