Adria Tour: Latest series of gaffes from Novak Djokovic

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
New Delhi, India Updated: Jun 24, 2020, 08:13 PM(IST)

File photo of Novak Djokovic. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

He may be a 17-time grand slam champion, world number 1 and on-course to become the most successful men's tennis player of all time. But Novak Djokovic's stock has taken a real pounding during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fallout from the Adria Tour is the latest in a series of gaffes from the Serbian over the last 3 months - and his position as the leader of the ATP players council now seems untenable.

He may be a 17-time grand slam champion, world number 1 and on-course to become the most successful men's tennis player of all time. But Novak Djokovic's stock has taken a real pounding during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fallout from the Adria Tour is the latest in a series of gaffes from the Serbian over the last 3 months - and his position as the leader of the ATP players council now seems untenable.

Boneheaded...Irresponsible...Disastrous...Shocking...

These are just some of the words that have been used to describe Novak Djokovic and his ill-fated Adria Tour over the last week...

The catastrophe had seemed inevitable ever since the first images of the opening leg in Belgrade hit the internet - packed stands, Kids’ Day celebrations, players hugging and high-fiving each other despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALSO READ: Novak Djokovic's faulty serve to the tennis world

And it predictably struck in Zadar this past weekend - as 2 coaches and 4 players including Djokovic himself tested positive for the coronavirus...

After his initial defiance - the Serbian tried to save face with an apology in which he conceded it was too soon to host the charity event without any distancing measures - but the damage had already been done. 

Even Djokovic’s good friend Andy Murray had no way to defend him - particularly over this party in a Belgrade night club, where forget distancing - the players were dancing around shirtless.

ALSO READ: 'Wasn't a surprise really': Andy Murray reacts to Novak Djokovic testing positive for coronavirus

Murray said - “in hindsight, with what’s happened there, it is not a good look. When you are going through a time like this, it’s important any of the top athletes around the world should be showing that we are taking this extremely seriously, knowing that we are using social distancing measures and whatever it is"

All through the lockdown - Djokovic has found himself on the wrong side of the coronavirus debate...

In April he said he was opposed to the idea of vaccinations - and was slammed by the Serbian health authority for fueling conspiracy theories...

His ignorance of science has been on display in numerous social media chats with a charlatan - with Djokovic going as far as to say that the 'power of prayer' could purify polluted water.

Even Djokovic’s wife Jelena - who has also tested positive - promoted a tin-foil theory linking 5-g technology to the coronavirus - that was flagged as false information by Instagram.

The Djoker has always held controversial opinions - but now his leadership as the head of the ATP players’ council is also under question.

"I don't know. Honestly, when I sit in those meetings, I don't know how they -- how it really works and how they get to those positions but, put it this way, I don't think he (Novak Djokovic) should be having a players' party and dancing all over each other and then two very good tennis players have tested positive. He should feel some responsibility in his event and how it's transpired really

Criticism of Djokovic from his fellow players began earlier this month when he opposed the u-s open going ahead over what he called 'extreme protocols'...

The Serbian was also accused of missing key player council meetings with the ATP about safety and tennis's plans to return to action in order to play football.

Last year - he was instrumental in the exit of ATP chief executive Chris Kermode...prompting such concern from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that they decided to rejoin the 10-man council and provide a powerful contrarian view... 

Now that his Adria Tour has single-handedly jeopardised the return of tour-level tennis - it is inconceivable for Djokovic to be allowed to continue as the chief representative of the interests of all the players.
 

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