New Delhi: Tennis champion and world number one in the ATP Rankings Novak Djokovic has been receiving a lot of criticism after four people tested positive for Covid-19 in a charity tournament he had organised.
The 17-time grand slam champion organised the Adria Tour, which began on 12 June and was to end on 5 July.
The tournament had high-ranked tennis players such as Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Jelena Jankovic and Djokovic himself taking part.
Taking place in Belgrade, Serbia, the tournament received much criticism as there were almost 2,000 people, wearing no masks, in the stands, while the players were maintaining no social distance, and hugging each other and shaking hands.
4 people test positive
World number 19 Grigor Dimitrov took to social media Monday to announce he tested positive for Covid-19.
“I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions. I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering,” he wrote.
View this post on Instagram
Hi Everyone-I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for Covid-19. I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions. I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering. Thanks for your support and please stay safe and healthy. GD
Shortly after Dimitrov announced his infection, the tournament organisers issued a release that the finale has been suspended due to Dimitrov testing positive.
Grigor Dimitrov has tested positive for COVID 19. As a precaution and to protect the health of all participants and visitors, we have decided to cancel the Adria Tour Finale in Zadar.
Read more: https://t.co/uvAZUbI2eK
— Adria Tour Official (@AdriaTennisTour) June 21, 2020
A few hours later, another player Borna Coric also informed his fans he had tested positive. Subsequently, both Dimitrov’s and Djokovic’s fitness trainers tested positive for coronavirus.
— borna coric (@borna_coric) June 22, 2020
Despite his trainer testing positive, Djokovic did not take the Covid-19 test as he “did not feel any symptoms”.
Djokovic was in close contact with Dimitrov as they played basketball and football together before the tournament began, and also partied together.
In a statement, Djokovic’s team noted: “Novak did not feel any symptoms or anyone from his environment, including the professional staff, so he did not go for testing now.”
“After arriving home in Belgrade, he will call the epidemiologist, and he will continue the procedure to his doctor according to the recommendations of the medical service,” it added.
The tournament with its lack of safety protocols did not go down well with fans and players alike.
Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios called it a bone-headed decision to go ahead with the tournament.
🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️ Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the ‘exhibition’ speedy recovery fellas, but that’s what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE. https://t.co/SUdxfijkbK
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 22, 2020
Grand slam champion Chris Evert said: “Total physical contact, no face masks, even the fans were without masks… I don’t get it.”
Many fans took to Twitter to say it was ridiculous to even host the tournament during a global pandemic.
In a doubles match, players were seen hugging each other and maintaining zero physical distance, while all the athletes played basketball and football with each other in the run-up to the tournament.
Djokovic’s exho tour kicked off with football match in Belgrade. 📷Adria Tour pic.twitter.com/m41tWKtUJr
— Michal Samulski (@MichalSamulski) June 11, 2020
Yes, this is footage from today and not from another planet. Novak Djokovic: "We have different measures in Serbia than the United States or UK. It's not up to me to make the call on what is right or wrong health-wise. We are following what the government of Serbia is telling us" https://t.co/8rn1Sr81j5
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) June 12, 2020
Fans called out the players for being extremely irresponsible and even said they should be penalised. Tournament organisers recommended that anyone who had been in contact with the infected people for more than 10 minutes should isolate themselves for 14 days and contact their doctors.
Serbia has reported nearly 13,000 Covid-19 cases, with more than 260 deaths.
In the past, Djokovic has received a lot of flak for saying that he is averse to a Covid-19 vaccine and that he might not play US Open if he has to limit the number of staff he can take along with him.
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