World No 1 Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan has said that Grigor Dimitrov is the person who should be held responsible for the coronavirus fiasco in the aftermath of the Adria Tour, an exhibition tennis event.
Djokovic was widely condemned for organising the tennis exhibition where he was one of four players to test positive for Covid-19. Dimitrov, Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki, several of the support staff, Djokovic’s wife Jelena and Troicki’s eight months pregnant wife have also tested positive.
The Serbian star said on Tuesday that he was “deeply sorry” for the now-cancelled Adria Tour, where social distancing was minimal and matches were played in front of thousands of fans.
However, local media reported that Djokovic’s father Srdjan seemed to lay the blame for the fiasco on Grigor Dimitrov, who was the first player to announce he has tested positive on Sunday. He was tested in Monaco, after leaving the tournament in Zadar, Croatia and Srdjan suggested that he was infected elsewhere as well.
“The man came sick who knows where and so it happened. I don’t think it’s okay that he wasn’t tested there, but elsewhere.
“He did great damage to you in Croatia and to us as a family and to Serbia,” Djokovic’s father as quoted as saying in an interview with RTL. A version of that was published in Sportske Novosti, where the quotes were translated from.
Novak Djokovic himself was tested in Belgrade as he left Croatia after the final match between him and Andrey Rublev was cancelled post Dimitrov’s diagnosis.
“No one is well, not even him because of this situation. Of course he does not feel well, but the situation is as it is, we have to get out of it stronger,’ Djokovic’s father further added.
According to a report by Associated Press, Djokovic’s mother joined in on defending their son. Dijana Djokovic said her son and his wife Jelena are feeling fine, but were suffering because of widespread criticism. “It is horrible what is being written, but we are used to it,” Dijana Djokovic told the Belgrade Blic newspaper.
The Adria Tour had been organised to fill the gap in the virus-hit tennis calendar which has been on ice since mid-March and was played out to a daily crowd of 4,000 fans at Djokovic’s tennis centre on the banks of the Danube in Belgrade last week.
Dimitrov, Djokovic and Thiem, as well as the other players, were then seen partying at a packed Belgrade night spot.
Commenting on social distancing measures during the Belgrade leg, Djokovic argued that both Serbia and the region had been relatively successful in containing the virus. “Of course you can criticise, you can also say this is dangerous or not, but it’s not up to me to make the calls what is health-wise right or wrong,” he stated. He has since apologised, stating he organised the event with sincere intentions thinking the virus as weakened.