The novel Coronavirus pandemic is still prevalent, and like many other sports, professional tennis still has more than a month left to make it back to action. However, Novak Djokovic’s idea of a charity tennis tournament in Serbia and Croatia is turning out to be an absolute catastrophe. The iconic Serbian tennis player is now COVID-19 positive with his wife, just after three more players from the event, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Ćorić and Viktor Troicki also tested positive. The world no. 1 is now facing massive criticism from the community, and recently apologised for the such a huge oversight. However, the Serbian’s coach comes in his defence.
Former Croatian tennis player Goran Ivanišević, who has been coaching Djokovic since June 2019, has opened up on the reprimand that his pupil is recently facing from all over the world. The charity tournament named Adria Tour was criticised for not following any restrictions or sanitisation guidelines.
“I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection,” while Djokovic has openly apologised for the blunder, he isn’t gaining any sympathy from anywhere. Surprisingly, the 33 year old now finds his mentor by his side in the current ruckus, defending him for his ‘humanitarian’ approach through the charity event.
“Everybody is smart now, and they are attacking Novak,” Ivanišević said in an interview with the New York Times, “He tried to do a great thing, a humanitarian thing. We were locked down for three months. He organised this tour.”
The event was held for two days over the cities of Belgrade, Serbia and Zadar, Croatia and saw some of the biggest names in the sport on the court, such as Marin Čilić, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev. Although, Ivanišević claimed that the event had clearance from the governments of both countries.
The 48 year old continued, “The players came in Belgrade and we had good tennis and a good atmosphere. Everything in Serbia and everything in Croatia was done with the recommendations by the government.”
In addition to the tournament, the players were also seen in nightclubs in between the event days, which was also condemned. Having said that, the Croat emphasised that it was all spontaneous, “Nobody forced anybody to come into that club. Nobody forced anybody to dance. Nobody can tell you to go on the stage, take your shirt off and dance.”
“And how do you know anyone even got infected at that party?” Ivanišević concluded.
Just after the confirmation Dimitrov being COVID-19 positive, the final of the tournament between Djokovic and Rublev was cancelled, and it was decided that every single player would be tested.