EXCLUSIVE: Annabel Croft insists Novak Djokovic should not take all the blame for Adria Tour nightmare

Alexander Zverev, Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem

Former British No 1 Annabel Croft has insisted Novak Djokovic should not carry all the blame for the disastrous Adria Tour event after it was cancelled amid a storm of criticism in June.

Djokovic hosted a tournament featuring some of the game’s top players, with crowds in attendance after the Serbian government gave the green light for the event to go ahead with limited social distancing restrictions amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Serbia had reported limited cases of the virus that has brought the tennis calendar and the world to a grinding halt in recent months, yet Djokovic, his wife Jelena, his coach Goran Ivanisevic and opponents Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all tested positive for coronavirus.

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Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic insisted she would take responsibility for the chain of events that sent shockwaves through the tennis community, yet BBC Sport analyst Croft believes Djokovic was guilty of over-ambitions rather than recklessness in staging the event.

Annabel Croft


“I don’t have enough detail on what advice they were given when they put on that tournament, but the Serbian Prime Minister has come out and take tech blame for what happened and you have to listen to that and accept what she is saying,” she told Tennis365 in an exclusive interview.

“I do believe he did it with the best of intentions and he was trying to give people in his country something to smile about and give some players a chance to earn some money after the ATP Tour was shut down, but obviously it backfired badly.

“In the end, it has ended up becoming a very unfortunate situation and we all just have to hope that all of those who were were infected with the virus at the event are okay and it’s as a steep learning curve for everyone that we can’t let our guard down too early.”

Djokovic and his wife Jelena tested negative for Covid-19 last week, but the 17-time Grand Slam champion has yet to confirm whether he play at next month’s US Open in New York.

The BBC are screening an array of Wimbledon coverage over what should have been the two weeks of The Championships, with Sue Barker presenting a show live from the All England Club every night at 8pm on BBC2.

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