American tennis player Noah Rubin has launched a scathing attack on Novak Djokovic for failing to attend an ATP player video conference that discussed the Cincinnati and US Open. According to Rubin the call was attended by over 300 tennis players, but the World No. 1 was nowhere to be seen.
Novak Djokovic is currently in the middle of the Adria Tour that he's conducting in the Balkan countries, and he featured prominently in all the events at the conclusion of the Belgrade leg. Moreover, while the rest of the world is following social distancing right now, many players and staff at the tournament were seen hugging, high-fiving and playing contact sports with each other.
The players were also seen partying on the night of the final game in Belgrade. While they have technically not broken any laws in Serbia, the images seem to have disturbed many people - including Rubin.
“These pictures of him playing soccer have surfaced. You can make time for that but you can’t get on a Zoom call for 30 seconds?" Rubin said on his podcast, Behind the Racquet. "Stuff like that makes me fully aware of the logistical nightmare that is tennis and how there are too many moving parts, how it really is a lost cause in the end."
Rubin lays into Novak Djokovic for criticizing US Open safety measures
Like all other sports, tennis tournaments have either been cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the US Open is scheduled to be the first Grand Slam to be conducted after the Australian Open this year, it has met with stiff disapproval from some of the biggest names in tennis, including Novak Djokovic.
The three-time US Open champion said that the policy to allow just one member of staff with a player at the venue is "extreme" and almost impossible. The Serb added that it is essential for the coach, physiotherapist and fitness trainer to be with the player. But Rubin disagrees, and rather vehemently.
“The fact that we’re giving you a tournament with still 95 percent of the prize money of last year, you’re not playing in front of the fans, we're giving you that prize money," said the American. "And you’re complaining that the physios at the ATP might not be good enough for your two weeks there? Like shut the f*** up. Just understand what is actually taking place."
Rubin also questioned why top players like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer wield so much influence on the sport, when they are not available during times of need. He believes the lower-ranked players should stop relying on the top dogs, since help is rarely forthcoming from them.
"Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are relied on,” Rubin said of Novak Djokovic, who is also the incumbent president of the ATP Player Council. “If you wanna look out for yourself, look out for yourself, this sport was built for that. But then don’t put yourself in a situation where others rely on you. If I can’t get in touch with you, if you aren’t helping me out, if you can’t get on a f***ing Zoom call, what is the point of all of this?”
In a social media post later, Rubin clarified that while the conversation was around Novak Djokovic, his message was for all top tennis players.