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'All we wanted was to play tennis' - Novak Djokovic's brother defends Adria Tour

The entire family of Novak Djokovic attended the Adria Tour matches in Belgrade
The entire family of Novak Djokovic attended the Adria Tour matches in Belgrade
ANALYST
Modified 23 Jun 2020, 18:39 IST
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Novak Djokovic's brother Djordje Djokovic has defended the decision to conduct the Adria Tour in Europe, citing that it was just a charity event where they wished to put up a top-quality show for the fans. Djordje, who is also the event's director, expressed grief over the news of players and officials testing positive for COVID-19.

Talking to Serbia's Prva Television, Novak Djokovic's brother addressed the coronavirus outbreak during the Adria Tour. The Zadar leg of the competition had to be called off after Grigor Dimitrov tested positive, and subsequently those who came in direct contact with the Bulgarian player also got tested. Borna Coric and two coaching staff members produced positive results, and now Novak Djokovic and his wife have also fallen prey.

This was the worst possible scenario: Novak Djokovic's brother

The Belgrade leg of the Novak Djokovic-organized Adria Tour was a massive success
The Belgrade leg of the Novak Djokovic-organized Adria Tour was a massive success

Novak Djokovic and Djordje were high on confidence after hosting the first phase of the Adria Tour successfully in their home country. The event attracted a capacity crowd of 4,000. In Zadar, the authorities allowed them to fill only half of the Visnjik tennis complex, but that didn't stop the dreaded virus from striking.

Reacting to the COVID-19 positive cases among the players and officials associated with the Adria Tour, Djordje Djokovic said:

"This was the worst possible scenario. Around 100 people were tested, and I was hard-hit by the news that some of them came back positive, especially my childhood friend Borna Coric. We wish all of them a speedy and painless recovery."

He even explained why Novak Djokovic got tested only after reaching Belgrade, saying:

"Novak was not obliged to take the test in Croatia as he had no symptoms. He took the test straight after his flight landed in Belgrade."

The organizers had to cancel the showdown between Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev in Zadar because of Grigor Dimitrov's positive test, which was followed by the Bulgarian's coach and Novak Djokovic's fitness coach also subsequently contracting the virus. Late last night Viktor Troicki, who did not play in Zadar but featured in the Belgrade leg, announced that he and his pregnant wife had tested positive too.

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Viktor Troicki played a match against Novak Djokovic in Belgrade
Viktor Troicki played a match against Novak Djokovic in Belgrade

The Adria Tour has received criticism from all around the world. However, Djordje defended their decision to hold the event and signed off with the following statement.

"We wanted to protect every player and fan after learning that Dimitrov tested positive. It was a charity event, and all we wanted was to play tennis and give the fans a good show."
Published 23 Jun 2020, 18:39 IST
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