Novak Djokovic defended the presence of 20,000 spectators for the Serbain Cup semi-final matches on Friday as physical distancing went for a toss at the world No 1’s Belgrade tennis club.

Djokovic’s Adria Tour, which is seeing the likes of Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and Jelena Jankovic participating in it, saw huge crowds turn up in the makeshift stands for the matches on Friday.

The coronavirus lockdown restrictions were lifted in Serbia recently but the government has advised people to maintain a minimum distance of one meter between themselves. That, however, was from from the case at the charity tennis tournament in Belgrade.

“We have different circumstances and measures so it’s very difficult to think of international standards,” Djokovic said before the ceremonial opening of his Adria Tour.

The 33-year-old added: “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 and hopefully we soon will get back on tour collectively. Of course, lives have been lost and that’s horrible to see, in the region and worldwide. But life goes on, and we as athletes are looking forward to competing.”

Many observers on Twitter, though, pointed out that the crowd gathering could prove to be a health hazard since the Covid-19 threat continues to remain.

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