What Else Could Possibly Go Wrong With Adria Tour?

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

The fall out from Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour event in the Balkans took a turn for the worse on Monday. A day after Grigor Dimitrov revealed he tested positive for Covid-19 after competing in the first two weekends of the charity exhibition event, first in Belgrade, Serbia, and later in Zadar, Croatia, a second high-profile player – World No. 33 Borna Coric of Croatia, who soundly beat Dimitrov in Saturday’s opening match  – said he had tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday night.

Coric confirmed his fate via social media on Monday despite being asymptomatic. He urged those he came into contact with to get tested.

What else could possibly go wrong?

By Sunday night, after the Zadar final between World No. 1 Djokovic and No. 14 Andrey Rublev was cancelled as a precaution – news that was delivered to spectators by event director Goran Ivanisevic – all of the players it seems except Djokovic were tested for the coronavirus at the tournament’s hotel in Zadar. Representatives of Djokovic said Monday morning that he had returned to Belgrade because he didn’t feel any symptoms and would undergo testing there. According to reports, Dimitrov’s coach, Kristijan Groh, and Djokovic’s fitness trainer, Mario Paniki, also tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Marin Cilic, Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev, all who competed in Zadar over the weekend, confirmed of testing negative. Each offered their apologies, posted on social media, and said that they would self-isolate for 14 days.

On Monday, both Nick Kyrgios and Dan Evans – contemporaries of Djokovic on the ATP Tour – spoke out. Neither were too happy about what happened over the weekend in Zadar.

Kyrgios cut to the chase and called the decision to have the Adria Tour as “boneheaded … but that’s what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE.”

Meanwhile, during a Monday press conference for the Schroder’s Battle of the Brits in Roehampton, England, which begins Tuesday, Evans said of Djokovic and the Adria Tour fallout in Croatia: “I just think it is a poor example to set. Even if the guidelines in that country are not two meters, I think we should all … it is not a joke is it? Even if the guidelines were taken away in this country to normal, I would still be trying to keep myself out of the way as much as I could from other people. And I just there there has been a total disregard to that. 

“It is very unfortunate that Grigor has it, Coric has it but, you know, if you strip it back, is it a surprise? I think that is the question we should all ask. 

“I think we could definitely learn from that. And hopefully that event doesn’t take away from … now the US Open. I hope there is no second-guessing now on the US Open because of unfortunate events. 

“But, put it this way, I don’t think you should be having a players party and dancing all over each other and then, two very good tennis players have tested positive. You should feel some responsibility in this event and how it has transpired.”

Appearing on the NCR Tennis Podcast Sunday evening, Egyptian tennis journalist Reem Abulleil, a columnist for The National, said, “Now that we have seen how quickly a player can get sick and how quickly it can spread … it just makes the US Open harder to pull off.” NCR Tennis Podcast host Ben Rothenberg, a senior editor for Racquet Magazine and a New York Times tennis correspondent, said “players have not been good role models for social distancing” but it also shows “they are not invincible” and suggested “maybe it’s a wake-up call for the players.”

On Monday, in the wake of Dimitrov’s and Coric’s positive tests for COVID-19, the ATP Tour issued a carefully-worded statement in which it emphasized its own “exhaustive” plans designed to lessen the risks of resuming play.

The ATP wishes a complete and quick recovery for the ATP players and members of their staff who tested positive for COVID-19 following involvement in the Adria Tour exhibition tournament. The ATP continues to urge strict adherence to responsible social distancing and health and safety guidelines to contain the spread of the virus.

In planning for the resumption of the ATP Tour season from 14 August, ATP and other stakeholders have made exhaustive plans to mitigate risks through a variety of precautions and protocols to be implemented at ATP events. We continue to plan and adjust these precautions and protocols according to latest medical information and prioritize safety in assessing every decision.

Finally, Monday evening, Saša Ozmo, a journalist for Sport Klub who attended the Adria Tour, wrote on Twitter: “Novak Djokovic is still waiting on the results of his test. It will come in tomorrow (Tuesday) CET and afterwards he will address the public.”