The images had made more than one tick. In the midst of a health crisis, Novak Djokovic, best player of tennis of the planet at present, embraced Alexander Zverev, Viktor Troicki and Borna Coric, his tennis teammates who became footballers for an afternoon, during an exhibition match. One of the many promotions for the Adria Tour, a tennis tournament organized by the world number 1, since June 13 in the Balkan countries.
There, the Covid-19 has not spread as much as in Western Europe. According to official figures, in any case (750 deaths in a region of 22 million inhabitants). For two weekends, the hydroalcoholic gel and the masks remained in the changing rooms, the barrier gestures gave way to numerous accolades between players. All in front of thousands of spectators. Result of the courts: ten days later, four players tested positive for Covid-19, Grigor Dimitrov, Viktor Troicki, Borna Coric and… Novak Djokovic.
The risk of lightning-fast propagation emerged with the Dominic Thiem case. After participating in theAdria Tour on June 13 and 14, the Austrian joined France this weekend to participate in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), Patrick Mouratoglou’s tournament. “There is no risk, we reassure on the side of the UTS. Dominic has been tested three times negative. And then, we, we implemented a serious and severe protocol… ”
Djokovic “deeply sorry”
A few days earlier, the
Djoker » criticized the rules
extreme and unworkable anticipated for the US Open in late August. Yesterday the tone had changed and the Serb said to himself
deeply sorry via a statement. Marko Paniki, Djokovic’s physical trainer, and Kristijan Groh, Dimitrov’s trainer, were also infected. All have asymptomatic forms.
The first sports consequences have fallen. Canceled, the Adria Tour turned into a fiasco. The resumption of the ATP circuit is planned in a month and a half on another continent (June 14 in Washington). Can the calendar be threatened?
I don’t think so, says Jean-François Caujolle, director of the Marseille Open 13. Djokovic’s tournament is private. ATP sent us a health protocol weeks ago, long before the Adria Tour.
ATP sent drastic protocol to tournaments
The measures advocated by the governing body of world men’s tennis are drastic.
There are fifty pages! We will have to test 300 to 400 people daily, respect the distancing measures in each room, disinfect the showers after the passage of each player. All this at the expense of the organizers.
This represents hundreds of thousands of euros.
A substantial sum, certainly, but which does not call into question the organization of the tournaments.
Even behind closed doors and even at a loss , the Open 13 will take place mid-February, if the sanitary measures allow it, certifies Caujolle. Tennis needs to resume. An opinion shared by the players? Many of them did not wish to speak yesterday. Criticizing the tournament of Djokovic, president of the players’ council, advances as a sensitive subject. Nicolas Mahut still slipped:
We are coming out of a somewhat murky, long period and we are still in uncertainty. We know that the circuit is relaunched, that we have a recovery date, so it’s easier to plan. Personally, I am not afraid but it will be necessary that all the sanitary conditions are met so that one does not take any risk or very controlled risks.