Since the onset of the coronavirus in December last year, the world has been brought to its knees, with all sporting events since March this year either being postponed or cancelled.
Tennis was no exception with two of the three remaining 2020 Grand Slam tournaments hanging in the balance, after Wimbledon was cancelled.
As the ATP and WTA had cancelled several events, Novak Djokovic, the World No. 1 Men’s Player arranged four Adria Exhibition Tour Events to be held in June and July.
The lineup included Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, Marin Cilic and several other players.
With each country determining their own lockdown rules, and with Serbia’s coronavirus stats on the decline, the Serbian Government gave the go ahead and the first leg kicked off in Belgrade, Serbia.
Thousands of tennis faithful flocked to the event, where social distancing was not adhered to and only a few spectators wore masks. The players were also engaging in many social activities on and off the courts. Djokovic was grilled by the press but maintained that they had followed the Serbian Government’s instructions and that it was not his call to make.
Grigor Dimitrov drops the “bomb”
The second leg, which was played this past weekend in Zadar, Croatia, saw a seemingly unwell Grigor Dimitrov suffer an easy loss to Borna Coric and then withdraw from his second match.
Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev had advanced to Sunday’s final and shortly before they were expected to walk on to the court, Dimitrov announced on his Instagram account that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and asked anyone who was in contact with him to also get tested.
It was then up to Djokovic’s coach and former Grand Slam Champion, Goran Ivanisevic, to make the announcement on court which saw the final and remaining two events cancelled.
Although Dimitrov was the first person to confirm his positive coronavirus test result, Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki, Aleksandra Troicki, Novak Djokovic, Jelena Djokovic and several support staff have also tested positive for the virus.
This has cast an unfortunate shadow on the rest of the 2020 season with Djokovic receving lots of flak from around the tennis globe.
The USTA announced some stringent rules for the upcoming US Open, which is scheduled to start on 31 August. These include regular testing, residing at hotels close to airports, limited number of players and staff and no spectators.
Djokovic, Serena Williams and several other players have voiced their opinions and are considering withdrawing from the event.
The French Open organisers moved their tournament date from May to September, which means that “The King of Clay”, Rafael Nadal, will probably skip the US Open in order to prepare for a record thirteenth title on clay.
With the coronavirus cementing it’s hooks around the globe, the idea of cancelling all events for the rest of this year may not be the worst idea.