A No-Distancing Tour Amid a Pandemic. Novak Djokovic is Proving to be a Bad Ambassador for Tennis


A No-Distancing Tour Amid a Pandemic. Novak Djokovic is Proving to be a Bad Ambassador for Tennis

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Novak Djokovic might be the top-ranked tennis player in the world, but is proving to be a very bad ambassador for the sport after a debacle of a charity tour he organised became a Covid-19 hotspot. Djokovic’s Adria Tour, which was being held in Serbia and Croatia, had to be called off after four tennis players and two coaches tested positive for the new coronavirus. At a time when sport authorities across the world are hesitant to resume playing before fans, the Adria Tour was held with no social distancing guidelines followed, and a cavalier attitude toward the safety of participants and spectators amid the pandemic.

Out of the four players who tested positive, two have gone public with their diagnosis. They are Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, ranked 19 worldwide, and Borna Coric of Croatia, ranked 33. Reports have emerged that despite the detection of multiple cases of Covid-19 at the tour, Djokovic refused to be tested right away, and left Zadar, Croatia, for his home in Belgrade, Serbia. He has reportedly taken a test now and is expected to announce the results today.

Djokovic’s dismissal of Covid-19 safety regulations was called into question even before the tournament. However, the World No 1 was nonchalant about concerns. “You can also criticise us and say this is maybe dangerous. But it’s not up to me to make the calls about what is right or wrong for health. We are doing what the Serbian government is telling us,” he said at the opening ceremony of the Adria Tour.

This seems in-character for Novak Djokovic, who has been known to have an anti-vaccination stance. In May, Djokovic came in for criticism after giving nutritionist Chervin Jefarieh a platform on his Instagram profile to endorse a product that claims to stimulate brain cell growth. These sessions featured Djokovic and the nutritionist spouting off pseudoscientific theories, including one where they stated it was possible to change the molecular composition of food and water through thoughts and emotions.

The Adria Tour will go down as an irresponsible and ill-timed event. Djokovic’s fellow players have also spoken out about the dangers of having held such an event.

Novak Djokovic has accrued many nicknames throughout his career, like Nole and Djoker, but after this, he might have to add covidiot to the list.