One could make the serious argument that Novak Djokovic’s positive test for coronavirus on Tuesday should not have happened. There were so many improper measures that took place from two “exhibition” tournaments in the old Yugoslavia over the last month, it was quite frankly, remarkable.
The Adria Tour was created with the intent to help players during this challenging time of coronavirus. There were two separate tournaments. The first in Belgrade, Serbia, and the second in Zadar, Croatia. The Djokovic family had their name all over the tour. Novak’s brother Djordje was even the event director.
However, the events turned out to have negative consequences. Over the last three days, world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia tested positive. So did, Djokovic’s wife Jelena, three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, world number 33 Borna Coric of Croatia, Djokovic’s fitness coach Marko Paniki, and Dimitrov’s coach Christian Groh. It has also now been reported by Vinay Chhabria of Sportskeeda, that Serbian tennis player Viktor Troicki and his pregnant wife also tested positive from the event in Belgrade.
What is completely bizarre from the two Adria Tour events were the lack of safety measures. For example, spectators attended the events. The exact number of people in the stands at this time is a little bit sketchy, but the bottom line is while the majority of the sports world are performing without spectators, the Djokovic-led tour welcomed them. Also, ball boys and ball girls were not wearing masks, and even had their pictures taken with the tennis stars from the event with no social distancing.
Now, there are reports that there was a “wild party” at a Serbian nightclub which was attended by Djokovic and Dimitrov according to Samantha Previte of the New York Post. Others present were German tennis star Alexander Zverev, Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, former women’s world number one Jelena Jankovic, and men’s tennis players Filip Krajinovic and Dusan Lajovic. During the party, Djokovic was seen dancing to the song “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”
The bottom line is that this is, and should be a public relation nightmare for Djokovic, who has previously stated that he is opposed to a “coronavirus vaccine.” One of Djokovic’s biggest critics was Australian Nick Kyrgios, who deserved high praise for his recent comments. He stated “boneheaded decision to go ahead with the exhibition,” and “this is not a joke.” Other critics within the last 24 hours have come from American tennis legends Andy Roddick and Chris Evert, along with British tennis player Daniel Evans.
While Roger Federer is recognized throughout the tennis world for his outstanding image, and Rafael Nadal has a strong global following, Novak Djokovic is clearly not in the same category as his counterparts when it comes to global appeal. In Serbia, there are 13,092 cases and 263 deaths. In Croatia, there are 2366 cases and 107 deaths.