ATP Player Council needs to figure out Novak Djokovic's role, says Federer's former coach
- Despite being driven by a good cause, Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour was "pretty disastrous" according to Paul Annacone.
- Annacone believes that it is up to the likes of Nadal, Federer and other Council members to clean up Djokovic's mess.
Ever since the news of Novak Djokovic contracting coronavirus came to light, the tennis world has been in an uproar. What started as a great initiative on Novak Djokovic's part - to organize a tournament solely for charity - backfired spectacularly.
By the second leg of the Adria Tour, some of the top participating players - Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, and Viktor Troicki - as well as some of the coaches and staff, had fallen prey to COVID-19. And Djokovic, who was at the helm of the event, was heavily criticized for the poorly executed exhibition event.
Now, Roger Federer's ex-coach Paul Annacone has also joined the chorus of those calling out Novak Djokovic's callous actions.
Annacone, who has previously worked with the likes of Pete Sampras and even Andy Murray, recently spoke in an interview with Sports Illustrated. The American expressed his candid opinions about Novak Djokovic and the Adria Tour, saying that while Djokovic's intention might have been noble, the failure to take enough precautions turned the project into a catastrophe.
“It (Adria Tour) was a good cause, driven by the right reason, but the end result was pretty disastrous," Paul Annacone stated.
The organizers of the Adria Tour showed a total disregard for maintaining social distancing protocols. The internet was flooded with pictures and videos of Novak Djokovic and Co making merry on the streets and pubs of Belgrade, and later even in Zadar.
Annacone admitted that Novak Djokovic's idea for the tournament was passionate, but also blamed the Serb for failing to see reason and practicality.
"His (Novak Djokovic) passion to do something good clouded all the information, all the science," Annacone mentioned.
A lot of players are scratching their heads about Novak Djokovic's decisions: Paul Annacone
In the aftermath of Novak Djokovic's tournament blowing up in his face, many have questioned the competency of the 17-time Grand Slam champion to continue as the Chairman of the ATP Player Council.
Paul Annacone feels that the onus to decide that is on the other members of the Council - including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“There’s 10 people on the council; they should figure how they feel about it,” Annacone said.
Most of the players are still struggling to understand why Novak Djokovic took this big a risk by organizing an event in the middle of a pandemic, and Annacone reiterated that thought.
“I think there’s a lot of his peer group who are scratching their heads,” Annacone quipped.
The ATP Tour is hoping to make a comeback from 14 August, but the incidents from the Adria Tour could jeopardize those plans - and maybe even lead to the cancellation of the US Open. For the players whose only source of income lies in tennis, the restarting of the tour was a matter of priority.
Annacone pointed out how Novak Djokovic's ill-fated event could have far-reaching consequences, and maybe even affect the livelihood of hundreds of individuals.
“You have 500 players around the world on razor’s edge, hoping they can play in eight weeks [at the US Open]. Every action has a consequence.” Paul Annacone stressed.Published 28 Jun 2020, 03:01 IST