Even though the Adria Tour was exceptional in the way it flouted all health and social distancing protocols, the tennis world is worried about the domino effect it may have on tour resumption.
The ATP and WTA respectively, had announced last week that play would restart in August. More importantly, two of the majors, US Open and French Open, would be held in August and September respectively.
But with four players – Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki — testing positive after competing at the tournament, the governing bodies may have to be even more cautious with their resumption plans.
“Yikes… this is not good and it’s a pattern,” tweeted tennis great Martina Navratilova. “What now, US Open? Roland Garros? We have a lot of work to do.”
Not a good look for tennis
Andy Murray, who is part of another exhibition event, the Battle of the Brits, said, “I hope that we learn from it and, off the back of it, they will be taking it extremely seriously because, ultimately, the Tour won’t get back again if we are having problems every single week and the players are doing what they want. We need to make sure we are doing the right thing.”
Murray has known Djokovic since his junior tennis days, and says what happened at the Adria Tour – organized by the Serb’s foundation – was unfortunate.
What is happening in the world now is our responsibility. This is a global problem and it affects all of us. We need to all help reduce the spreading of this virus. So I am going to self quarantine for the next 14 days. Thank you for your support.
— Andrey Rublev (@AndreyRublev97) June 22, 2020
“In hindsight, with what’s happened there, it is not a good look,” the Brit said. “It’s not surprising how many people have tested positive after seeing some of the images of the players’ party and the kids’ day. There was no social distancing in place.
“Some people have said maybe this has put the US Open in doubt — which it may well do. But the measures and the protocols they have in place at the USTA (United States Tennis Association) are different to Serbia and Croatia. No fans for a start.”
American coach Paul Annacone, who has worked with Pete Sampras as well as Roger Federer, said that the Adria Tour has dealt tennis’ restart vision a massive blow.
“”I think there’s a lot of his peer group who are scratching their heads,” Annacone told Tennis.com
“I was totally anxiety-ridden and very disappointed because the restart, or the reimagining of how we can start (tennis) is just about eight weeks away. And with all these opportunities to try to start in a progression, to me, it felt like they skipped about 15 steps.”
— Alexander Zverev (@AlexZverev) June 22, 2020
Five-time doubles Grand Slam champion, Bruno Soares, however came down heavily on the badly executed Adria Tour, calling it a ‘freak show.’
“The summary of that for me is Freak Show,” the Brazilian said on a podcast called Match Point.
“In a worldwide situation that, no matter how good you are (with regards to Coronavirus ), even if it’s in the North Pole, with no case, you won’t go out partying, music show, crowding, and posting on Instagram,” the 38-year-old Soares said.
“This event of theirs, although it was a completely different thing from what is going to be held in the United States, is causing a bit of general panic. It falls on him (Djokovic) as a person, the ATP has nothing to do with it there. He organized the event on his own.”