The reigning World No. 1 Novak Djokovic spoke at length about the upcoming 'Adria Tour' in a press conference on Monday. He also opened up on his training schedule during the coronavirus-enforced break, saying that he has played a fair bit of tennis but hasn't publicized that so as to not hurt the sentiments of the less privileged.
"I am extremely excited and happy to have the opportunity to play in front of the home crowd in Belgrade, but also in front of the audience in the region," Novak Djokovic said.
The Serb also talked about how he has reduced his training intensity in the last few weeks, but assured everyone that he is taking the upcoming tournament in the Balkans very seriously.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion will be joined in the competition by several top players, including Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev. That last name is a new addition to the lineup; Djokovic revealed the development by saying, "The phenomenal news I want to announce today is that Sascha Zverev, Alexander Zverev, will come to Belgrade."
The intensity of my training sessions has been less: Novak Djokovic
Talking to the media with his usual confidence, Novak Djokovic accepted that he is not training hard right now because of the uncertainty surrounding the future ATP tournaments. He said:
"I was quite active. I followed my program. Of course, the training intensity decreases because I was not preparing for the tournaments, but I take the whole Adria Tour very seriously."
The World No. 1, who turned 33 just a few days back, mentioned that he is in good shape now. He also explained the rationale behind his fitness regimen and disclosed that he trained almost every day in Marbella.
"I had the opportunity to train almost every day (in Marbella) during the coronavirus because we stayed in a house next to the tennis court," Djokovic continued. "I played a lot of tennis on a hard surface and lately on clay, but I didn't upload it on the internet so as not to anger anyone."
Novak Djokovic confident that the other participants will be motivated
Novak Djokovic then touched upon the topic of the other star players participating in the upcoming tourney. He referred to Thiem, Zverev, and Dimitrov's participation and stated:
"I am confident that they will also be motivated, we miss our work, we'll enjoy the game."
Djokovic was asked whether his fellow members of the Big 3 - Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - could be expected to join him. The Serb replied in the negative, saying that they both have things of their own to deal with right now.
"Federer still has problems with his knee, so I didn't even want to ask him," Djokovic said. "I was talking to Rafa about the US Open, but I didn't ask him and I don't expect him to come."
The 'Adria Tour' will commence on 13th June and go on till 5th July. The competition will kick off in Serbia (13th and 14th June), then move to the Croatian city of Zadar (20th and 21st June), followed by the Montenegro leg (27th and 28th June), before concluding in Banja Luka and Sarajevo of Bosnia-Herzegovina (3rd, 4th, and 5th July).
Djokovic revealed that the organizing committee is still negotiating the arrangements at the venues with the tennis federations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, without clarifying whether fans will be able to attend the matches live.
He did, however, confirm that the matches of this round robin style tournament will take place on clay. The Serb himself will likely be a part of the entire series, but it is unclear how many matches he will play.
At the end, Novak Djokovic said that the big names joined him in the competition because of his good relations with them. He signed off with the following statement:
"The tournament is charitable, and all proceeds will go to humanitarian organizations. The stars will come for free because of my good relationship with them and for the humanitarian nature of the tournament. I am very grateful that I will be able to receive them in my hometown."
The matches will be telecast live on Eurosport SD and Eurosport HD LIVE, with daily coverage starting at 5:30 PM IST.Published 25 May 2020, 22:20 IST