Novak Djokovic’s youngest brother Djordje Djokovic, who is also the tournament director of the Serbia Open, recently spoke with a local TV channel about the 2021 edition of the tournament. Djordje confirmed that the Belgrade event will be held without fans, before naming the players that will be joining Novak Djokovic in the draw.
Djordje Djokovic had also served as the tournament director of the infamous Adria Tour last year. Speaking about the arrangements at the Serbia Open, Djordje claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic had made it a 'difficult situation' with respect to spectator attendance.
"Unfortunately, there will be no fans this year because we are in a difficult situation with a lot of people who contract the virus on a daily basis," Djordje Djokovic said.
Djordje Djokovic's appointment as the tournament director of the Serbia Open had initially seemed dubious, given his history with the Adria Tour. But the 25-year-old is seemingly taking every precaution to ensure that a situation like last year is not repeated.
"It's a very difficult year for everyone and the restrictions have resulted in a lot of injuries" - Novak Djokovic's brother Djordje
Novak Djokovic's brother also weighed in on Borna Coric and Stan Wawrinka withdrawing from the event. The Serb insisted that all the players are going through a difficult period due to quarantine restrictions, which may have had a bearing on their fitness too.
"It's a very difficult year for everyone and the restrictions have resulted in a lot of injuries," Djordje said. "Unfortunately, Borna Coric and Stan Wawrinka had to withdraw."
Wawrinka and Coric join Matteo Berrettini as the top 30 players that will be skipping the 250-level tournament due to injury. But the Serbia Open still promises to have several top players on show, as Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils and Aslan Karatsev make up the top 4 seeds.
"We still have a very strong lineup," Djordje said. "Besides Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfis and Aslan Karatsev will enter the tournament, as will Serbs Filip Krajinovic, Laslo Djere and Miomir Kecmanovic. Many of the top 30 players will be here."
While Djordje is understandably bullish about the quality of the Belgrade field, it is pertinent to note that several top players will be playing in the simultaneously scheduled Barcelona Open. The entry list at the 500-level event includes stars like Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Diego Schwartzman, Roberto Bautista Agut and Denis Shapovalov.