The naivety of Novak Djokovic to think he, as an imperious world no.1, and a gang of top-flight tennis stars could disregard to advice of the world’s most foremost virologists has effectively thrown both the US Open and the ensuing French Open into doubt.
Djokovic’s love for a party seems to override the social distancing rules laid down by the majority of scientists that have attempted to steer the world through the pandemic ravaged last three months. But the attempts to seemingly cock-a-snook at medical opinion has backfired disastrously.
As a result, not just the remainder of the Adria Tour in Banja Luka and Sarajevo has been cancelled with immediate effect but Djokovic, along with other star players such as Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki have all tested positive for Covid 19.
Because of their negligence all must all go into self-isolation until well into July with the US Open set to begin in New York on August 24 and the French Open on September 20. And tennis’ ruling bodies will now look seriously at the sensibility of staging the two remaining Grand Slam tournaments of the year.
Admittedly the virus has not appeared so virulent in the Balkan countries as Britain, France, Italy and Spain. Serbia has recorded just 263 deaths, Croatia 107 and Montenegro just nine. Such figures are minimal compared to the United States with more than 123,000 fatalities and the British death toll, which is about to top 50,000,
Nevertheless, the senselessness of the Adria Tour players, also including Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev, who romped around sweaty and shirtless in a Belgrade nightclub, is being viewed as idiocy. Both Nick Kyrgios of Australia and Britain’s Dan Evans, a pair that have never really been viewed as sensible or well-disciplined in the past, have been damning in their criticism.
Kyrgios called the concept of Adria Tour, where there is no social distancing or adherence to safety guidelines, such as the wearing on face mask and eliminating any body contact, as ‘bone-headed’. The Aussie tweeted: “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.”
And speaking of Djokovic as the leader of the players, Evans said: “Put it this way, I don’t think you should be having a players’ party and then dancing all over each other. He should feel some responsibility in his event and how it’s transpired.”
Djokovic, whose wife Jelena has also tested positive for coronavirus, made a very contrite statement after the news of his infection broke. “I can’t express how sorry I am for this and every case of infection,” said the world no.1. “I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection.
“I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine. If you attended Adria Tour or were around any attendees please get tested and practice social distancing. For those in Belgrade and Zadar (venues for the first two stops on the Adria Tour), we will be sharing health resources in the near future.”