The Djokovic family’s second attempt at tournament promotion looks like hitting the COVID wall, with Saturday’s admission that the ATP 250 will have to be played without spectators present.
The reality will slam a clay event which will compete against the century-plus lifespan of the Barcelona Open during the week of April 19.
Novak Djokovic, a noted anti-vaxxer, has managed to lure world No. 4 Dominc Thiem to the Serb capital to try and lift the profile of the family event..
But Rafael Nadal will be at his usual place in Barcelona at the rival event he has won 11 times.
The first attempt by the Djokovic clan to organise a tournament came in 2009, with that clay outing lasting for four years. It was won by Djokovic, who only bothered to enter the inaugural edition.
The world No. 1’s most recent effort to bring tennis to his home country ended badly in June when the no-mask Adria Tour spread COVID through the Balkans.
Djokovic, his wife, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev were among those who tested positive for the virus.
The upcoming edition’s lack of fans will be a blow to financial prospects for the Mark II attempt in the capital.
“Unfortunately, there will be no fans this year as we’re in a difficult situation with a lot of people contracting the virus on a daily basis,” younger brother Djordje Djokovic told Nova S television.
“It’s a very difficult year for everyone and the restrictions have resulted in a lot of injuries. Regrettably, Borna Coric (injury) and Stan Wawrinka (foot surgery) have had to pull out but it’s still going to be a very strong field.
“Apart from Novak, Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfis and Aslan Karatsev will enter the tournament,, a lot of top 30 players will be here.”
The Belgrade attempt came to life again after buying the license of a defunct event played in Hungary 2007-2019.
Main photo:- Djokovic, his wife, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev tested positive for Corona virus at Adria Tour