Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour Fiasco Sparks Anger With A Little Bit Of Sympathy Among Players - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour Fiasco Sparks Anger With A Little Bit Of Sympathy Among Players

The ongoing silence from the world No.1 on the incident is only adding fuel to the fire as he awaits the results of his own test.

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24 hours have passed since the future of the Adria Tour was thrown into serious doubt following its first positive COVID-19 test and still the world of tennis awaits some sort of response from its founder Novak Djokovic.

 

On Sunday evening the Croatian leg of the Tour came to an abrupt end when it was confirmed that participant Grigor Dimitrov had contracted the virus. Who previously withdrew from the tournament due to ‘fatigue’ on Saturday. Organizers were quick to react by scrapping Djokovic’s final clash with Andrey Rublev, but unfortunately the damage had already been done.

The hope of Dimitrov being a one-off were ended this morning when further tests revealed another three people had contracted COVID-19. They are world No.33 Borna Coric, Dimitrov’s coach Kristijan Groh and Djokovic’s fitness coach Marko Paniki. Furthermore, Marin Cilic, Alexander Zverev and Rublev have all confirmed that they will go into self-isolation.

“I deeply apologise to anyone that I have potentially put at risk by playing this tour. I will proceed to follow the self-isolating guidelines advised by our doctors. As an added precaution, my team and I will continue with regular testing. I wish everyone who has tested positive a speedy recovery. Stay safe.” Zverev said in a statement.

Djokovic now finds himself in the firing line following the breakout after also previously being criticised for the lack of social distancing protocols at the Belgrade event. In a recent interview with Eurosport, the Serbian explained that the current situation in the Balkan region is different to the West with their own policies. So from that perspective, technically nothing was done wrong in his opinion. Although some of his rivals differ with their views.

“I don’t think you should be having a players’ party and dancing all over each other and then two very good players test positive,” Dan Evans told British reporters ahead of the Battle of the Brits tournament.
“He (Djokovic) should feel some responsibility for his event and how it has transpired.
“It is a poor example to set, even if the guidelines in that country are not two metres. It is not a joke is it?”

Andy Murray, who has played Djokovic in seven grand slam finals, points out the complexity of international travel. Organizers throughout the Adria Tour have stressed throughout that their events are being played in accordance with local rules. However, they failed to factor in the international travel aspect with players going to and from various countries. They continued to hold events that would see players interact with members of the public face-to-face or attend parties together. On Monday afternoon Croatian media confirmed a five-year-old boy had caught COVID-19. He was at one stage in close contact with the players whilst attending a private meal with his family, according to jutarnji.hr.

“Once you start to bring international travel into it, with players and team members from all different parts of the world coming in, you need to make sure you’re taking all the correct measures, safety measures, all the precautions that you can, to try avoid a situation like they got into over there,” Murray commented.

Some would argue that it is too harsh to blame this all on one person and undoubtedly this is the last thing Djokovic wanted to happen. Nevertheless the majority of the backlash is coming his way. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he is also a vital figure in men’s tennis. Besides being the world No.1 and founder of the Adria Tour, he is also president of the ATP Players Council.

Therefore he is expected to lead by example, which is why his decision over his own COVID-19 testing is both baffling and poor. On Sunday evening he decided against undergoing a voluntary test (it was optional because he doesn’t show any symptoms) and instead chose to travel back to Belgrade in Serbia. Whilst most of the players who he played alongside got tested. Players were given this option after Dimitrov’s announcement.

Outspoken Australian Kick Kyrgios was another to voice his anger towards Djokovic. Not that it is the first time he has done so. Kyrgios said it was a ‘bonehead decision‘ to go ahead with the Tour.

Amid the criticism, not everybody is gunning after Djokovic and even questioning his suitability for being the president of the ATP Players Council. France’s Richard Gasquet believes responsibility lies with the local authorities, who authorised the event to go ahead as it did. Gasquet is currently playing in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) which is being played without a crowd.

“Djokovic is not the culprit. It was not he who put a gun on the guys’ temples to demand that there be 5,000 spectators. It was the government that chose to accommodate these 5,000 people in one place. But it is sure that with all these people, it was delusional … It was the only place in the world where we saw an audience like that.” He told L’Equipe.

Djokovic will find out tomorrow if he has tested positive for COVID-19 and make his first public statement. Working out to be between roughly 36-48 hours after Dimitrov’s positive test announcement. He faces some difficult questions to answer in the coming days with many believing that the Adria Tour can no longer continue.

A positive COVID-19 test in tennis was always inevitable, but many feel that Djokovic’s event took too many unnecessary risks and lacked adequate procedures to address the threat of a pandemic among international travellers (the players). Something that seems almost certain to come back and haunt him over the coming days.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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Next Gen Star Alexei Popyrin Fears He May Be Forced To Play US Open Despite Health Concerns

Like many other lower ranked players on the Tour, the 20-year-old finds himself in a tough situation.

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One of Australia’s rising stars has said he is worried that he may have to play at the US Open against his will or risk losing a chunk of ranking points.

 

Alexei Popryin has raised his concerns about travelling to the New York major in August amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in some areas of the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were 52,228 New Cases of the virus on July 5th compared to 24 hours before. Furthermore, the governor of New York recently announced that people travelling from 16 different states in America are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they visit the city. According to USA Today this ruling applies to roughly 48% of the entire American population.

Despite the concerns, the organisers of the US Open have insisted they will be able to hold the tournament in a safe manner and will be implementing various restrictions. Including holding the event without fans for the first time and conducting frequent testing of players. However world No.103 Popryin admits that he still has his concerns about attending.

“There are talks regarding the US Open but I really don’t want to go with the situation in America right now,” Popyrin said at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown over the weekend.
“But we have to see if we would be forced to go because of ranking points.
“If the ranking points won’t be frozen, then most of us would be forced to go play cause our ranking will drop and we wouldn’t have any say in it.
“But if the rankings are frozen, then I am staying here.
“I will stay in Europe where it’s safe with my family.”

Popryin has a considerable amount of points to defend in New York after reaching the third round there last year. Therefore, if he skips the event he faces dropping further down the rankings. Something which will then impact on his chances of entering the bigger tournaments later in the year. Usually the cut off for Grand Slam tournaments is around 105.

It is still to be announced as to what will happen with the ranking points system at the US Open and if there will be any adjustments made due to the pandemic. Although organisers will likely be against any idea to remove them from the event as it is a key factor to attract players to take part.

Another player to voice their concerns about the US Open is France’s Benoit Paire, who has said he would not attend the event if it was taking place today. Speaking to RMC Sport the world No.22 said he would rather not go to the event if he meant that he would be ‘taking a risk’ with his health.

“Going to the United States would be at risk of catching it. I am a great professional and I am one of those who would always like to play tennis, but your health is the most important thing,” he said.
“If going there is taking the risk of catching the disease and staying quarantined when I return, I prefer not to go, really.’
“It looks like if we play the US Open, we will have to sacrifice not to play the Mutua Madrid Open or the Masters 1000 in Rome.”

Meanwhile, world No.3 Dominic Thiem recently told Austrian media that he believes a final decision regarding the Grand Slam will be made within a week. Something that is yet to be confirmed by officials.

Should it go ahead, the US Open will start on August 31st.

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REPORT: Former Spanish Tennis Star In Talks To Coach Alexander Zverev

A former world No.3 could be returning to the Tour later this year in a new position.

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Tennis sensation Alexander Zverev could soon be mentored by somebody whose career he ended last year at the Madrid Open.

 

Spanish newspaper Marca have reported that the world No.7 is set to enter in a 15-day trial with former French Open finalist David Ferrer where the two will get to know each other better. Ferrer has reportedly travelled to Monte Carlo to start working alongside Germany’s top player. Should everything go well, the two could start a formal partnership in September ahead of the European clay-court swing of the Tour, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both men are already fairly familiar with each other after facing off nine times on the ATP Tour, including three times last year. Zverev was the last player Ferrer played against at the Madrid Open before officially retiring from the sport at the age of 37.

“He’s the most respectful guy for me on Tour, and one of the most loved people on the Tour as well,” Zverev told reporters in the Spanish capital following their match.

Whilst never winning a Grand Slam, Ferrer achieved numerous accolades throughout his career. Including spending 4914 consecutive days in the world’s top 50, winning 27 ATP titles and achieving a ranking high of No.3 back in 2013. Overall, he has played 1011 matches on the ATP Tour (including Grand Slams) which is more than John McEnroe.

Should Ferrer receive the green light, Zverev will be the first high-profile player he will be responsible for. The Spaniard had previously hinted at his desire to enter coaching with his long time objective being to captain the Spanish Davis Cup team. He is also currently serving as the tournament director of the Barcelona Open.

“I would be very proud to be able to be (Davis Cup captain),” Ferrer told Marca in April 2019. “I also understand that this is very far away and there are players who are ahead. First, I have to train as a professional in teaching (coaching).”

Neither Ferrer or Zverev has publicly commented on the report. At present Zverev is coached on the Tour by his father who guided him to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

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