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Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour is a step backwards for tennis, says Rafael Nadal's uncle Toni

  • Rafael Nadal's uncle Toni spoke about the Adria Tour and how Novak Djokovic had endangered the resumption of tennis.
  • The Spaniard also spoke of the grueling schedule created by the ATP, and how it will be tough for older players to cope.
Namit Kumar
Modified 26 Jun 2020, 01:37 IST
Rafael Naal (L) and Novak Djokovic
Rafael Naal (L) and Novak Djokovic

The attention of the tennis world over the last few days has been focused on Novak Djokovic, but for all the wrong reasons. His controversial Adria Tour was held with no social distancing, packed crowds and raucous nightclub parties, before - almost inevitably - disaster struck.

The whole event came to a grinding halt after Grigor Dimitrov tested positive for COVID-19 during the second leg of the tour in Zadar, Croatia. Later, three other players - Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki and Novak Djokovic himself - also tested positive for the virus.

Djokovic, who refused to get tested in Zadar and traveled to Belgrade while potentially carrying the virus, issued an apology for everything that had gone wrong with the Adria Tour. But scores of people have criticized the Serb regardless of his apology, calling him out for his irresponsibility and lack of concern.

Recently, Toni Nadal - uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal - also gave his opinion on the whole debacle.

A step backward in normalizing the tennis circuit: Toni Nadal on Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour

Novak Djokovic with his family at the Adria Tour
Novak Djokovic with his family at the Adria Tour

Speaking with ESPN, Rafael Nadal's uncle claimed that despite all of Djokovic's seemingly good intentions, the event was not good for tennis.

"It was a shame because due to a good initiative to make movement in tennis, there has been a coronavirus problem that has not been good for tennis or for Novak Djokovic and the players," said Toni.
"In a situation of so much trouble and more a World No. 1 like Djokovic, it would have been preferable if he had gone with a little more care. I think that in Serbia the measures are not so strict, so they have acted like this."

Feeling sympathetic for the Serb, Rafael Nadal's uncle further went on to say:

"It is a mistake anyone can make. Novak Djokovic has already apologized. In the end, it is a step backwards in the process of normalizing the circuit."

The schedule is grueling for older players like Rafael Nadal, says Toni

Toni (L) and Rafael Nadal
Toni (L) and Rafael Nadal

Toni also spoke about Rafael Nadal returning to tennis and the schedule created by the authorities to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. He criticized the ATP for creating an unfairly grueling schedule, especially for the older players on the tour.

"Rafa told me what they had done regarding the calendar," Toni said. "I find it a little ugly what ATP has done. They have made a calendar that is almost unaffordable for slightly older people: for Rafael Nadal, for Roger Federer, for Novak Djokovic. A young tennis player might still cope."
"It seems good to me that there are many tournaments. But you should do something with the frequency because if you don't play every week, it is difficult in a month to play the US Open, Rome, Madrid and Paris. It is almost unfeasible," said the Spaniard.

Rafael Nadal, at 34 and having faced many injuries in the past, is faced with some uncomfortable decisions as he defends two Slam titles and more than 5000 ranking points between August and October. The Spaniard has so far remained tight-lipped on which tournaments he will play after the return of competitive tennis.

Published 26 Jun 2020, 01:37 IST
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