'Reckless and disappointing': Tennis fraternity slams Novak Djokovic after top-ranked player returns positive test for COVID-19

World number one Novak Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, days after he hosted a number of players in the Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkan region.

Reuters June 23, 2020 23:39:52 IST
'Reckless and disappointing': Tennis fraternity slams Novak Djokovic after top-ranked player returns positive test for COVID-19

World number one Novak Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, days after he hosted a number of players in the Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkan region.

Djokovic was criticised for hosting the tournament amid a pandemic after Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki also returned positive tests after playing in the tournament that was held in Serbia and Croatia.

Following are reactions from the tennis world to the Serb’s positive test:

Nick Kyrgios, two-times Grand Slam quarter-finalist:

"Prayers up to all the players that have contracted COVID-19. Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been 'irresponsible' or classified as 'stupidity' - this takes the cake," the Australian wrote on Twitter. Martina Navratilova, 59-times Grand Slam champion:

"Yikes this is not good and it’s a pattern. Hope Novak will be ok of course! What now, U.S. Open? Roland Garros? We have a lot of work to do," she wrote on Twitter.

Patrick McEnroe, former doubles champion and commentator:

"When I sent out a tweet a couple weeks ago about that event in Serbia I said yeah it looks like a normal tennis event to me. I'm not sure everyone got my point," he said in a video on Twitter.

“Maybe they are starting to get it now. Nothing’s foolproof so don’t be foolish. That’s my message.”

Over the past two days, organisers have also been criticised for allowing stands to be packed with fans during the opening leg in Belgrade. With no social distancing rules in place in Serbia, players hugged at the net, played basketball, posed for pictures, attended press conferences and were out dancing together.

British number one Dan Evans:

“I don’t think he should be having a players’ party and dancing all over each other,” Evans said.

“Players have tested positive. He should feel some responsibility in his event and how it’s transpired, really.

“It’s very unfortunate that Grigor has it and Coric has it but you strip it back, is it a surprise? I think that’s the question we should all ask.”

Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren:

"If Novak doesn’t get COVID I’m going to start blessing my water with positive vibes," the American said.

American tennis player Sachia Vickery:

"Last one for the Djokovic fan club who abused me last week after all I said was the first priority should be health and not how many people the top players can bring to a slam," she wrote on Twitter. "It’s awfully quiet right now."

American tennis player Mitchell Krueger:

"It’s only inevitable that all these boneheaded decisions are possibly putting U.S. Open at risk. Which means this also affects some 300+ players. Nobody is bigger than the sport," he tweeted.

“One step forward five steps back,” Krueger added in response to Djokovic’s positive test.

Noah Rubin, former junior Wimbledon champion:

"It’s just not okay. Reckless and disappointing that they thought tennis deserved the risk," he said on Twitter. British tennis player Tara Moore:

"Wait djoko is the guy who was engraged at USO for only allowing 1 entourage in, but ok with Qs, wheelchair, juniors etc to be cancelled but lobbied HARD for more of his team to be able to go. The men’s tour DIRECTLY IMPACTS THE WOMENS TOUR before anyone starts," she said.

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