The Adria Tour has been cancelled and what was certainly intended as a morale boosting programme has ended with players and public receiving positive tests for the Covid-19 virus which in turn has spawned a barrage of criticism as a scapegoat is sought.
He (Dimitrov) inflicted great damage to Croatia and to us as a family and to Serbia Srdjan Djokovic
First it was Grigor Dimitrov, then Borna Coric plus two support coaches. Viktor Troicki became the third player and he was subsequently followed by Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena and now we learn that Troicki’s pregnant wife, Aleksandra, has succumbed.
How many of the public have been diagnosed is not known but one other, the basketball player who Djokovic met up with prior to the tour, Nikola Jokic, has, and jeopardised his return to the Denver Nuggets for the restart of the NBA season.
Sympathy for Djokovic and his ill-judged tour is very much in short supply. He has been at the forefront throughout and revelled in the adulation generated by the tennis starved population, something he has yearned for from the various arenas around the world where his rivals are constantly acclaimed despite his record.
But his actions and the lack of safety precautions which are prevalent at other current exhibition events, will have damaged his reputation and raised questions as to his capabilities as a leader. Should he, for instance, remain President of the ATP Player Council?
His most recent critic is Guido Pella, the world No.35 who believes Djokovic had not only played with people’s health but been disrespectful to the tennis world – and the planet!
Pella, who is still undecided whether to play the US Open, wonders who would treat him if he caught the virus in New York, said of the Adria Tour.
“Beyond Djokovic’s intentions, it is not right to organize the tournament while the world suffers from the pandemic,” the Argentine said. “He played with many people’s health and crossed a line from which it will be challenging to return, disrespecting the world of tennis and the entire planet.
“The leaked videos of him dancing without shirt in a disco do not help at all. I don’t know how he’s going to get out of this. We have to see if the circuit would come back after this. It will be tough not to catch the virus at the US Open.”
Djokovic has issued an apology, but it lacks any contrition.
“It was born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded,” the Serbian world number one said as he defended the tour.
“We organized the tournament when the virus has weakened, believing the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.”
And now we have his father Srdjan Djokovic, attempting to lay the blame elsewhere, namely on Grigor Dimitrov’s broad shoulders!
“Why did it happen? Because the man probably came sick, who knows where. He didn’t get tested there; he was tested somewhere else… I don’t think that’s right. Well, what can we do now… He inflicted great damage to Croatia and to us as a family and to Serbia”, Srdjan Djokovic told RTL
However, he believes his son will emerge from this disaster even stronger.
“Nobody is well, not even him… Nobody is well because of this situation. Of course he doesn’t feel well, but what will you do? the situation is as it is. We have to come out of this stronger, to understand that this has to pass, to protect ourselves in some way”, he added.
“We will do everything to make up for all this in the future, when things get normal, and when we do not face with such fears. We will come to Zadar with pleasure,” he concluded.
Meanwhile the Jury remains out on Djokovic.