Grigor Dimitrov, the former No. 3 in the world, has become the hundredth case of Covid-19 in Montecarlo, the infection contracted him last weekend in Zadar, and now tennis finds out what he already suspected. And that is that the Adria Tour organized in the former Yugoslavia by Novak Djokovic, without social distancing but with many hugs and with all the collateral activities planned – football match between tennis players, basketball game with a Croatian team, disco nights – has represented an extremely dangerous incubator for infection. A (viral) ticking time bomb. In addition to Dimitrov, the number 13 of the world Borna Coric, the coach of Dimitrov Chris Gro, was also positive and there is also talk of Marco Panichi, the physical trainer of Djokovic, who prefers not to make statements pending an official release of number one of the world.
According to Croatian sources, he refused to be checked in Croatia, but preferred to return to Belgrade where, according to the Serbian media, he has already been tested with his whole family.
“Novak took the news of Dimitrov’s positivity very seriously – says Djordje Djokovic, Novak’s brother who serves as the director of the Adria Tour.” We have taken all the concerns requested by the governments of Serbia and Croatia. ” Which are obviously very mild, given that in Belgrade in the stands the audience was tight as in a tuna box and very few used the mask which were also distributed at the entrance together with the disinfectant gel. The images of the matches of the tournament, but also those of the football game on the eve with Dominic Thiem, Dimitrov and Sascha Zverev himself, and the wild evening parties, showed hugs, dances, group celebrations (with Nole shirtless ) strongly opposed to the minimum precautions that are recommended by health authorities around the world.
“You can criticize us for that and say it’s dangerous,” Djokovic had defended on the eve of the first tournament. «But it is not for me to say what is right or wrong for health. We are following the directions of the Serbian government. I think it’s a positive message, we had a chance to find ourselves all together and we took advantage of it. And we hope to return soon to turn all freely in the Tour ». He was not satisfied, given that now he risks a new lockout, waiting to understand if and who the others are infected.
Dominic Thiem had been tested at the beginning of the last week on his return to Austria, and it was negative, Sascha Zverev and Marin Cilic apparently escaped it, and after exhibiting a youthful contempt for danger, like Dimitrov, they apologized publicly on social networks “for the problems we may have caused by participating in the Adria Tour”. Cilic has even decided to go into voluntary self-isolation, despite being negative, but the milk is now spilled. And apologizing when the risks were well known from the beginning is not enough.
“The performance was a stupid idea – Nick Kyrgios beat hard – I wish my colleagues a speedy recovery, but this is what happens when the protocols are not respected. It’s not a joke”.
Former world number 1 Andy Roddick is also sarcastic (“apparently there is a pandemic”), and criticizes the entire world press on what is considered as a minimum “imprudent handling” of the matter. “At this point,” writes the daily Telegraph, “Djokovic will be happy that the media will hardly be admitted to the US Open – if he decides to play them – because he may find himself answering uncomfortable questions”.
Not only from the press, however. Many colleagues attacked him for his position against the security measures decided for the US Open by the American federation. “But in what world does he live”, “he thinks only of himself”, were the most widespread comments, combined with the attacks that rained on him for snubbing an important conference call relating to the US Open – he who is the representative of the players – to devote himself to the infamous soccer match in Belgrade.
Not even the vitriolic statements against Federer of his mother (“he is an arrogant”) and his father (“he is 40 years old, it is time for him to retire”) did not help his cause. In short, for the tennis player who would like to be loved by everyone, the pandemic is proving to be an authentic communication disaster.