Former ATP players’ council president Vijay Amritraj said that while Novak Djokovic’s intentions in organising the Adria Tour event may have been good, more common sense could have been applied in its planning.
The World No. 1 has faced intense criticism after Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki and himself contracted Covid-19 following the charity event in Serbia and Croatia.
In a conversation with Reuters, Amritraj said that although Djokovic's intentions were absolutely correct and he had followed the local government protocols yet he should still have taken more care regarding the health and safety of all involved.
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“In hindsight, yes, obviously he could have taken a lot more precautions before running the event,” Amritraj said.“In spite of certain local government mandates, I think it is critical to follow some common sense.”
Djokovic has since apologised and confessed that it had probably been ‘too soon’ to hold the event which was played before jam packed stands in Belgrade and was in the middle of a second leg in Zadar before being called off.
Amritraj, believes the exhibition tournament would have been good for tennis ensuring television coverage for the game could restart.
“As days progressed, I realised that they were going to put about 1,000 people in a stadium and I really didn’t know how big the stadium was,” said Amritaj. “And later on ... after finding out that the event itself had pretty much a full house from the perspective of fans and none of this social distancing, masks, all of that were even in play, it became very much more of a concern.”
Djokovic also leads the players council on the ATP Tour and Amritraj, who held the same post for four terms from 1989, said it came with a “huge” responsibility.
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“Same for Roger (Federer) and Rafa (Rafael Nadal), whatever they say or do is going to have a great degree of influence over the sport worldwide and what people think,” he said.
Amritraj said the failure of the Adria Tour indicates that there should be no crowds if the main game resumes in August after a five months gap.
“The crowd usually makes a huge difference,” he said. “Unfortunately you will lose that element of the match. It’ll be pretty straightforward to see a spectacular point and there’ll be no applause in the way.”
“So that certainly will affect the players. But again, it’s something that we have to get used to, and it’s better than not having it at all,” he added.
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