Dominic Thiem defends Novak Djokovic after controversial Adria Tour

A host of stars, including world No. 1 Djokovic, have tested positive for Covid-19 after competing at a tournament that attracts large crowds and limits social distancing in place, with players hug and fight, play basketball and dance together.

Djokovic, who has suffered widespread backlash, has since apologized for his involvement in organizing the event in the Balkans, saying in a statement he was “deeply sorry”. Our league has caused harm.”

Professional colleagues Nick Kyrgios said hosting the event had been “beheaded” and criticized other players, including Thiem, for taking part.

Although now admitting the tournament – originally scheduled to be held in four cities from June 13 to July 5 – was a mistake, Thiem says Djokovic is just trying to do something about it. positive.

“It’s not fair to him because he didn’t break any laws and he didn’t force us,” Thiem said. CNN Sport’s Patrick Snell.

“He didn’t force any player to go there. He didn’t force any player to interact with the fans.

“It’s our own decision. The whole event is also for a very good reason.”

The tournament attracted three-time Grand slam finalist, world No. 7 Alexander Zverev of Germany and three-time semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, among others. Djokovic’s 24-year-old brother, Djordje, was appointed tournament director.

On June 21, Dimitrov tested positive for coronavirus, and organizers promptly canceled the entire series. Troicki will later test positive, as will Croatia’s Borna Coric, Djokovic, his wife Jelena and others.

Thiem said the players were swept up in a joyful occasion that at the time they had given careful consideration to the advice of local authorities to stay one meter apart.

“Obviously it was everyone’s mistake but it’s really been a while and everyone who’s been active there is healthy again, which is a very good sign,” he said, before adding that everyone have learned from their mistakes.

“In reality we see the fans happy, we see the kids happy and then we forgot to keep our distance, not take pictures, not hug the kids and that was a mistake.

“Of course everyone regrets that, but I think, at the same time, it’s okay now.”

The players pose for a photo at the Adria Tour.

US Open

Thiem recently entered and won, the Bett1Aces tournament in Berlin – an event that adheres to social distancing guidelines and is partly played in an old airport hangar.

He is currently shifting his focus to the US Open, which will take place behind closed doors at the end of August.

The Austrian said he was not concerned about participating in New York and said the Berlin competition could be an example of how to organize an event safely.

“If that happens, I’m very sure it’s safe and I’ll play too because I guess it’s time for the normal tour to return,” he said, admitting it would be difficult to play a big game. collapsed floor without thousands of fans in the stadium.

“It’s hard to imagine, but at the same time, what it is like and we have to deal with it.

“I think the main thing is touring, and tennis, slowly coming back.”

Some high-profile players have cast doubt on whether the US Open should take place this year but organizers are pleased with the safety precautions in place.

They received a boost when Serena Williams confirmed she would be playing at Flushing Meadows and now sister Venus has expressed her desire to be involved.

“God willing, you’ll meet me in New York. If it’s safe to play, I really want to play the US Open,” Venus said of her. Youtube Channel.

Coronavirus Support

Like many other sports, tennis has been hit hard by the global pandemic, with many events and tournaments cancelled.

That was especially difficult for lower tier players, who struggled to make ends meet during the lockdown.

Sofia Shapatava says & # 39; tennis may not survive & # 39; the coronavirus pandemic when she started petitioning for financial help
Djokovic, the president of the ATP Players Council, has urged players to contribute to a fund set up by the game’s governing body but Thiem was initially reluctant to participate – believes its donations will be better served elsewhere.

He has since clarified his comments, saying that although he favors lower- and lower-level players, he wants to choose who is worthy of his support.

“What I was told is that there are people on the Future Tour who are not living professionally,” he added.

“That’s what I said. And there are people who don’t deserve support and I will never change my opinion.”

“There are many, many boys who deserve it and that’s my opinion. But, come on, the media got it wrong back then and I hope that now I can put it in the right place a bit. little.” | Dominic Thiem defends Novak Djokovic after controversial Adria Tour


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