Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak in 2020 to 20-0 as he defeated Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-4 at the Western & Southern Open in New York on Tuesday. But Nick Kyrgios, who has been a staunch critic of the Serb, said many would consider he had an ‘L’ (loss) against his name because of the Adria Tour.
“Hell of a tennis player,” Kyrgios tweeted on Wednesday.
“May go unbeaten in 2020, can’t take that away from him. Unfortunately when he was supposed to show some leadership and humility he went missing. Majority would say he has taken an L regardless.”
Hell of a tennis player. May go unbeaten in 2020, can’t take that away from him. Unfortunately when he was supposed to show some leadership and humility he went missing. Majority would say he has taken an L regardless. https://t.co/UjZ9LbHTj3
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) August 26, 2020
The Adria Tour, organized by the Novak Djokovic Foundation, was designed as an exhibition charity event across four Balkan cities. But with no social distancing measures put into place, it had to be cancelled mid-way as four players, including Djokovic, tested positive.
The World No 1 did apologise for it, but has been criticized widely for the debacle.
Last week, in an interview with The New York Times, Djokovic defended himself, saying the relentless criticism was nothing short of a witch-hunt.
“We tried to do something with the right intentions. Yes, there were some steps that could have been done differently, of course, but am I going to be then forever blamed for doing a mistake?” Djokovic said.
“I do feel sorry for people that were infected. Do I feel guilty for anybody that was infected from that point onward in Serbia, Croatia and the region? Of course not. It’s like a witch-hunt, to be honest. How can you blame one individual for everything?”
Djokovic’s return to tennis, however, had begun on a sour note when he had to pull out of the doubles event at the relocated Cincinnati Masters due to a neck strain.
But he has won his two singles matches in straight sets, to extend his winning streak in 2020. It is one of the best starts to a season, only topped by Djokovic’s incredible 41-0 run in 2011.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) August 25, 2020
When asked if he was thinking of finishing the year unbeaten, Djokovic said, “Look, anything is possible. I have experienced some things in my career, in my life, that I have to say I believed that they can happen, but, you know, they were not seeming so possible but yet they happened.
“I don’t want to count that out, especially because of the fact that we are — we don’t know how the post-US tour season is going to look like, whether we are going to play, whether there is going to be another lockdown in Europe or not. We are hoping not.”
Australia’s Kyrgios, meanwhile, has chosen not to play the US Open and the tune-up event because of the pandemic.