Novak Djokovic received severe backlash for the ruckus at the Adria Tour, which became a COVID-19 hot-spot after four players tested positive for the virus. But the Serb has since spoken out against the criticism being directed his way, even insinuating there has been a "witch-hunt" against him.
Novak Djokovic's failed tournament has been followed by exhibitions like the All-American Tennis Cup and the Ultimate Tennis Showdown. Notably, both of those events have implemented strict safety precautions.
The contrast in the Serb's event and the others has been uncomfortably stark, and yesterday on the podcast Control the Controllables American tennis player Donald Young pointed out exactly that.
Novak Djokovic's exhibition was like an act: Donald Young
Young watched the events unfold from the sidelines, and couldn't believe some of the stuff that was going on. As Novak Djokovic organized his charity tournament in the middle of a global pandemic without any visible safety protocols, the American got a foreboding sense of impending disaster.
"I was sitting here and I was watching it (Adria Tour) on TV," Young said. "And it was giving me anxiety, watching the whole thing gave me anxiety. I texted a couple players, and I was like what is this, like is it an act. From what I saw, they're hugging. The day before, I saw the pictures with the ball-kids and stuff and they were all close and touching."
The lack of precautions also made Young wonder whether Serbia was completely free of the virus.
"I was wondering that in Serbia, it must be amazing over there. I was confused about the whole thing - here vs there," the American added.
Young also compared the arrangements at the All-American Tennis Cup taking place in Atlanta with Novak Djokovic's exhibition in Zadar. The tournament in Atlanta has made wearing of masks and social distancing for fans and players compulsory, something that Novak Djokovic's tournament didn't bother to do at all.
Adria Tour mishap will have implications on the rest of the tour: Donald Young
Novak Djokovic believed he had complied with all rules and regulations laid down by the government, and so he and several other players - including Grigor Dimitrov and Sascha Zverev - took the liberty of partying at a nightclub in Belgrade.
The videos that emerged from that party earned sharp rebukes on social media - including from the likes of Nick Kyrgios - and Young feels the same way as the rest.
"I was like, wow. And then when I saw the players hugging and clubbing, I was like I wish I got to do such things in times like these!" Young said.
The World No. 300, who mainly competes on the Challenger Tour, believes that what happened at the Adria Tour will have ramifications for the rest of the tour as well.
"This is single-handedly going to torpedo the US Open and the tour. You know, he is the President of the Player Council, and then he is having events with these guys. Hopefully, things will be handled totally differently, in a safe way in the future," Young said.Published 10 Jul 2020, 03:16 IST