World no. 1 Novak Djokovic organized the first leg of the Adria Tour ten days ago at his Novak Tennis Centre in Belgrade. Gathering the names like Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov, the crowd had a chance to see some of the world's leading players in action without strick social distancing rules and many off-court activities for the competitors, including kids day, football and night clubbing.
The weekend behind us saw the second stop of the Adria Tour in Zadar, with Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev competing again alongside Borna Coric and Marin Cilic. Like in Belgrade, the crowd was there to watch matches with no strict rules involved, as players spent time with kids and competed in a basketball match against the local club.
Everything worked like a charm until Sunday when Grigor Dimitrov announced he is positive for the coronavirus, followed by his coach and Borna Coric.
The Bulgarian had traveled a lot in the past few weeks and it's uncertain where he had picked up the virus, flying back to Monte Carlo and starting recovery.
Novak Djokovic didn't want to test before leaving Croatia, doing that at home in Belgrade and revealing both he and his wife have been positive for the coronavirus. As was expected, everything that had happened in Zadar caused a massive turmoil in tennis world, with many players judging Djokovic and the entire organization for their loose or none health measures.
The last two legs of the Adria Tour were canceled and we are yet to discover if the latest setbacks will prolong the restart of the season, scheduled for August. "No one feels well now, including Novak, but we have to find the way out from this situation.
In my opinion, Grigor Dimitrov is responsible for all this, refusing to test in Zadar and coming ill from who knows where. That's not right, causing a lot of damage to Croatia, Novak's family and Serbia. We would be thrilled to repeat the event in Zadar and offer the crowd a great time in the future."
"The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested. My result is positive, just as Jelena's, while the results of our children are negative. Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions.
Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region. The Tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from South-Eastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the COVID-19 situation.
It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this. We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.
Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with. I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were. I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection.
I hope that it will not complicate anyone's health situation and that everyone will be fine. I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days," Novak Djokovic stated.