Novak Djokovic blasts coronavirus ‘witch hunt’ following tournament disaster
Novak Djokovic doesn’t understand why irresponsibility is so unpopular.
Last month, the world’s No. 1 tennis player helped plan The Adria Tour, which brought in players from multiple countries and allowed sellout crowds of 4,000 fans to gather in Belgrade without face masks or social distancing. It was then cancelled after multiple players tested positive for COVID-19. Djokovic — and his wife — also contracted the coronavirus and was one of several players captured on video that week dancing shirtless in a Belgrade club.
Still, Djokovic believes his stature is the reason he is being condemned by so many.
“I can only see criticism lately and much of it is malicious,” Djokovic told Serbia’s Sportski Zurnal. “It’s obviously more than just criticism, it’s like an agenda and a witch hunt are on. Someone has to take the fall, a big name.”
“My intention was pure, I was wholeheartedly committed to organizing a humanitarian event to help players and tennis federations in the [Balkan] region. We complied with all the laws and regulations. But we’ve learned our lessons and some things could have probably been done in a different way.”
Djokovic’s desire to play at the U.S. Open hasn’t changed much, though. Last month, the 17-time grand slam champion bemoaned the strict protocol in place for players who come to New York, with Djokovic bothered by the inability to go to Manhattan or bring his entourage.
“I still haven’t decided whether I will play in the U.S. Open, the upsurge in registered COVID-19 cases in the United States and New York in particular are not playing into the event’s hands,” Djokovic said.
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