Novak Djokovic has received countless criticisms from colleagues and insiders for organizing the Adria Tour without any precaution. The exhibition had to be canceled after four players - including the same World number 1 and his wife - tested positive for COVID-19.
The decision to welcome a large portion of the public and not to comply with the rules on social distancing has not produced the expected effects, indeed the Serbian phenomenon also risks being dismissed from the position of President of the Players Council.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion expressed sincere apologies on his social accounts, but that did not stop public opinion from hitting him. Interviewed by 'El Partidazo de Cope', Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez acknowledged that the Adria Tour affair is likely to adversely affect the resumption of tennis (the season will resume in August).
Lopez on Novak Djokovic
"What Novak Djokovic has done does not help," Feliciano Lopez said. "I think he could do better, I am convinced. As the world is, you have to give a very different image than what has given. The country's politicians, the health authorities, who allow them to hold an event of 4,000 people without masks in the stands, also have a very large part of responsibility for what has happened.
Outside of what the tournament is, they have also made football matches or parties that are avoidable and could have been done differently. I think in Serbia they have allowed them to do an event that did not give out the image (of tennis) that it should have.
Tennis is a serious sport like football or basketball. People have to set an example," Lopez added. That meant 4 000 fans were in the stadium in Belgrade, and players were later seen partying together and playing basketball with each each other.
"What happened in Belgrade with Djokovic did not bode well for the return to tennis. They needed to us comply with the strictest protocols, as it cannot be otherwise. The important thing is the safety of the people and that there are no contagions.
(I hope) people do not stay with this image of tennis because now when tennis returns to the United States, the protocol that we have to follow is very extreme. Many players (may) disagree and believe that they cannot subject us to such strict control" - he finished.