The fall out of the Adria Tour continues as many struggle to find someone to lay the blame on. In the main that someone is Novak Djokovic who led the campaign for this mini circuit and as it has been repeatedly said, his intentions were good and it had the backing of both the Serbian and Croatian governments.
It's our fault, we made the measures easier; if we didn't, the tournament wouldn't take place and leave the man alone when he had only tried do do something good and brave, the worst thing is that you have 1,001 people who will criticize what happened from the comfort of their home. Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister of Serbia
What is questioned is the complete disregard of safety measures in view of the Covid-19 pandemic which hadn’t affected these two countries as adversely as others which is why the two governments were happy with the organisation and not taking any note of the arrangements other events were taking to safeguard players and the public.
Interestingly the Serbian Prime Minister has now come to the defense of her nation’s idol, pointing out his good intentions.
“Full support to Novak Djokovic,” Ana Brnabic said. “To his credit, he tried to do something good, not only for us in Serbia, but also in the region – to put politics aside, to help young tennis players, to raise money for humanitarian purposes, to do something.
“Congratulations! Whether it was the right time or not, you can’t know with this epidemic, but in any case, the easiest thing is to be the general after the battle and to criticize someone because he had tried to do something good and noble. He invested energy, probably a lot of his money.
‘Blame me, not Novak Djokovic” she told Mondo.
“That (when they blame the government) is the easiest and most beautiful thing for me. If they could put that blame on me personally, as Prime Minister, and leave Novak alone, I would love that so much. It’s our fault, we made the measures easier; if we didn’t, the tournament wouldn’t take place and leave the man alone when he had only tried do do something good and brave, the worst thing is that you have 1,001 people who will criticize what happened from the comfort of their home,” Brnabic concluded.
Djokovic has certainly received a lot of flak and his status within the game has been tarnished as highlighted by Andres Gomez, the 1990 French Open champion, who believes action should be taken against those violating safety rules.
Speaking to TENNIS.com, he said: “They better get used to it. Maybe in Europe you will have some fans in September, but the sport needs to start with all the safety recommendations.
“Strictly followed. To not do it you should get penalized and treat it as doping or betting. If not ready, stay home and let the ones that are gonna follow the rules play. I am sure some players needed the rest and others to get in better shape.
“As for tennis, they will get in the rhythm playing a lot of practice sets,” Gomez added. “As we can see there are preparation tournaments and exhibition to start getting match tough. Players in semi-finals and final are the ones that are gonna be thinking if they would play the next Masters 1000 and Paris.
“There is going to be a lot less for the players to do besides practice and matches, limited press and almost no appearances. It is going to be interesting” – he concluded.
Meanwhile in a recent interview with SportKlub, Janko Tipsarevic came out strongly in defense of his compatriot.
“The British media who are now trying to ‘hang’ Novak Djokovic are the biggest hypocrites.
“A photo was recently published on the beaches of England where everyone is close, Liverpool fans celebrating the Premier League title … In the Bundesliga (German Championship), if someone is positive, he is isolated and everything goes on, but for us there seem to be other rules,” Tipsarevic said.
“Dimitrov tested positive and now they’re shooting Novak with all possible weapons. It’s a double standard, two measures,” he continued. “I would like to see the Americans if … In fact, not of ‘if’, but ‘when’ … someone is infected with the US Open , there are about 700 people in the same place.
“There they are destroying Novak, but what will happen to the US Open if one, two or even three players test positive? Will they cancel it? Will they test the 700 people?”
And so it goes on. The tennis world is certainly split over this subject but, as Tipsarevic questions, what will happen if the Covid-19 virus is tested positive at Flushing Meadows.
And also, what penalties will be exacted on players breaking the safety rules. A question raised by Andy Murray a few weeks back.
PS – Novak Djokovic has donated €40,000 ($45,000) to Novi Pazar in Serbia’s southwest to combat an increase in the Covid-19 virus in the region, after the town declared a state of emergency in late June.