Opinion: Reckless Novak Djokovic paying the ultimate price for his vanity project
A sceptical jury was already considering their verdict on Novak Djokovic’s controversial Adria Tour and now their judgement will be damning, with the world No 1 caught in the eye of a storm he decided to create.
As what became the almost inevitable confirmation that the reigning Wimbledon champion had contracted Covid-19 during the first two legs of his ill-judged travelling tennis tour, sympathy for Djokovic’s plight will be in short supply.
The superstar who planted himself front and centre of the publicity machine behind Adria Tour revelled in the adulation that flowed in his direction as he played in front of his home fans in Serbia earlier this month, with Djokovic’s pulling power ensuring some of the world’s top players join him to play and event in the Balkans that attracted television broadcasting deals and major sponsorship agreements.
The mission to raise money for charities may have been heartfelt, but the sight vast crowds packing the stands at a time when world sport is trying to return behind-closed-doors raised eyebrows aplenty and that was only the start of the arrogant disregard for the health and safety of those taking part.
Images of Djokovic draped around his fellow competitors as they partied in nightclubs after the first event in Serbia left a lasting impression that the tournament’s curator felt coronavirus was a pandemic he was immune to catching, with that viewed backed up by his own comments several weeks ago.
Novak’s claim that he would not accept vaccination against the virus couple with an infamous Instagram post from his wife Jelena – who has also tested positive for Covid-19 – promoting the ludicrous conspiracy theory that the virus was spawned from China’s 5G phone towers left the impression that the Djokovic clan were refusing to join the world in accepting the severity of the pandemic and now they have taken their PR disaster to dangerous levels.
Daha 1-2 hafta önce şöyle bir parti düzenleyen Novak Djokovic virüse yakalandıktan sonra korona hala maaalesef mevcut demiş. Günaydın keşke tüm uyarılara kulak tıkamasaydın da böyle bir olay yaşanmasaydı pic.twitter.com/LPUlT6qAvX
— NadaLebron #Tenis (@vamosrafaaaa) June 23, 2020
“It was born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded,” claimed Djokovic as he tried to defend the Adria Tour in his statement confirming his positive test. “We organized the tournament when the virus has weakened, believing the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.”
It was a lame apology statement, but the truth is no excuse can justify the scandal Djokovic has overseen here.
His position as President of the ATP’s Players Council appears untenable after an event that has caused lasting damage to the sport he claims to have been promoting, with his message of apology as he confirmed his positive test counting as this was a calamity that should never have come to pass.
Doubts over whether the US Open can go ahead as scheduled in late August are now certain to be aired, with Djokovic’s shocking disregard for the danger he was placing all involved in the Adria Tour impossible to overlook at a time when this virus continues to rip through the world with violent abandon.
While we wish Djokovic and his wife well in their respective recoveries, but Novak’s decision to treat Covid-19 with contempt has come back to haunt him and the tennis family should not forget the stain his reckless actions have left on the sport.
Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer
Follow us on Twitter @T365Official.
Novak Djokovic steps up to put Team Europe back on track
Novak Djokovic helped Team Europe retake the lead at the Laver Cup on Saturday.
Rising Chinese star Zheng Qinwen surges into first WTA final in Tokyo
Zheng Qinwen will contest her first WTA Tour final against Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova in Tokyo.
Team Europe take lead in Laver Cup as Roger Federer watches
Matteo Berrettini gave Europe the edge in the Laver Cup on Saturday.
Roger Federer hints at farewell tour ‘to say thank you to fans’
Roger Federer lost his final competitive match but wants to say farewell to his fans all over the world in some way.
Roger Federer’s classy farewell reminds others how it should be done
Compare Federer’s farewell with that of Serena Williams at the US Open and you observe a very different route to an exit.
Emma Raducanu halted by injury once again as she retires from Korea Open semi-final
Emma Raducanu missed out on a place in the Korea Open final after an injury halted her promising run in Seoul.
Roger Federer ends illustrious career with doubles defeat at Laver Cup
The Swiss great announced last week this doubles tie would be the final match of his professional career.
Emotional Roger Federer bids tearful farewell to professional tennis
Federer partnered with Rafael Nadal in the final match of his illustrious career.
A closer look at the incredible career of Roger Federer
The Swiss maestro is hanging up his racket after the Laver Cup.
Emma Raducanu reacts to reaching her first WTA Tour semi-final
The 19-year-old beat Magda Linette 6-2 6-2 in Seoul and will face top seed Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the final.