COVID backlash is worst scenario, says Djokovic's brother
The debacle of the Adria Tour organised by world number one Novak Djokovic was the worst imaginable outcome as several participants tested positive for COVID-19 during and after the event.
COVID backlash is worst scenario, says Djokovic's brother
RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT VIDEO SHOWS: INTERVIEW WITH DJORDJE DJOKOVIC, NOVAK DJOKOVIC'S BROTHER AND ORGANISER OF THE ADRIA TOUR TENNIS TOURNAMENT / RECENT FOOTAGE OF DJOKOVIC AND OTHER PLAYERS ADRIA TOUR MEDIA EVENTS / FILE FOOTAGE OF DJOKOVIC EDITORS PLEASE NOTE THE INTERVIEW WAS DONE BEFORE NOVAK DJOKOVIC TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 SHOWS: ZADAR, CROATIA (JUNE 23, 2020) (TV PRVA - NO USE SERBIA) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) BROTHER OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND DIRECTOR OF ADRIA TOUR, DJORDJE DJOKOVIC, SAYING: "Yes, we did have a situation first with Grigor Dimitrov, I was (also) really stricken by the news that Borna Coric, my childhood friend was, is infected with coronavirus and I am very sorry for all that.
At this time, we have about 100 people tested both players and people from organisation, only four people turned positive.
We monitor (the situation) and we are in touch with epidemiologists from Croatia (and) we are being convinced (by them) that all is absolutely under control and that there is no reason to panic or (for) any stories about a new (corona) hot spot." ZADAR, CROATIA (JUNE 19, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 2.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND BORNA CORIC ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE 3.
PLAYERS AT NEWS CONFERENCE INCLUDING CORIC AND GRIGOR DIMITROV (HAT) 4.
PLAYERS, INCLUDING CORIC AND DIMITROV POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHS 6.
BISERKA PETROVIC (MOTHER OF DRAZEN PETROVIC EX NBA PLAYER) GIVES BASKETBALL JERSEY TO DJOKOVIC 7.
GROUP PHOTO ZADAR, CROATIA (JUNE 23, 2020) (TV PRVA - NO USE SERBIA) 8.
(SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) BROTHER OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND DIRECTOR OF ADRIA TOUR, DJORDJE DJOKOVIC, SAYING: "Unfortunately, something like this was possible, this scenario was the worst one possible, we regret that this had happened, but I will repeat again - we did absolutely everything on our part to protect ourselves, all restrictive measures were implemented in both Belgrade and Zadar." BELGRADE, SERBIA (JUNE 12, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 9.
VARIOUS OF DIMITROV (SECOND LEFT) SEATED NEXT TO (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) ALEXANDER ZVEREV, NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND DOMINIC THIEM AT A NEWS CONFERENCE AHEAD OF THE FIRST LEG OF DJOKOVIC'S ADRIA TOUR 10.
ZVEREV, DJOKOVIC, DIMITROV AND THIEM POSING FOR PHOTOS TOGETHER ZADAR, CROATIA (JUNE 23, 2020) (TV PRVA - NO USE SERBIA) 11.
(SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) DJORDJE DJOKOVIC, BROTHER OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND DIRECTOR OF ADRIA TOUR, SAYING: "It was absolutely only as required - we acted as required by the law.
Anyone who had any need to get tested - was tested.
I say that all the players who came from abroad - only Dominic Thiem had the obligation - when he came to Belgrade - to get tested before the flight, probably because of the laws of Austria, he did it and tested negative and he came to Belgrade.
All the other players were not tested and we did not force it upon anyone.
It was, of course, recommended by our side, but they didn't want (it) before any first symptoms appear, they did not want to get tested, that is - they did not have any obligation (to do so)." ZADAR, CROATIA (JUNE 21, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 12.
VARIOUS OF PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE ADRIA TOUR VENUE ZADAR, CROATIA (JUNE 23, 2020) (TV PRVA - NO USE SERBIA) 13.
(SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) DJORDJE DJOKOVIC, BROTHER OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND DIRECTOR OF ADRIA TOUR, SAYING: "Novak was not obliged to stay and get tested in Croatia as he did not feel any symptoms. He immediately went back to Belgrade with his family where he got tested immediately upon landing just like the rest of the family and the team." LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - NOVEMBER 8, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 14.
VARIOUS OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC PRACTISING AHEAD OF ATP TOUR FINALS STORY: The debacle of the Adria Tour organised by world number one Novak Djokovic was the worst imaginable outcome as several participants tested positive for COVID-19 during and after the event, his brother Djordje said on Tuesday (June 23).
Djokovic, who took the coronavirus test on Monday after returning to Belgrade from the Croatia leg of the event, is expected to announce the result later on Tuesday.
"This was the worst possible scenario," the event's director Djordje Djokovic told Serbia's Prva Television.
"Novak was not obliged to take the test in Croatia as he had no symptoms. He took the test straight after his flight landed in Belgrade.
"Around 100 people were tested and I was hard-hit by news that some of them came back positive, especially my childhood friend Borna Coric.
We wish all of them a speedy and painless recovery." Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov pulled out of the tournament in Croatia's coastal resort of Zadar after feeling unwell following his match with Coric on Saturday.
He informed the organisers ahead of Sunday's final he had tested positive upon his return to his Monte Carlo residence, leading to the cancellation of the showdown between Djokovic and Russian Andrey Rublev.
Croatian Coric tested positive on Monday as did Serb Viktor Troicki, who did not take part in the Zadar leg of the Adria Tour but featured in the first leg staged at Novak Djokovic's tennis centre in Belgrade on June 13 and 14.
Djokovic's fitness coach Marco Panichi and Dimitrov's coach Christian Groh also tested positive.
Djordje Djokovic said he had made the decision to cancel the Zadar final in order to contain the damage.
"We wanted to protect every player and fan after learning that Dimitrov tested positive.
It was a charity event and all we wanted was to play tennis and give the fans a good show," he said.
A sellout 4,000 crowd attended both days of the Belgrade event and as many turned up to watch the Zadar event, with its Visnjik tennis complex half-full after Croatia's authorities ordered spectators to implement social distancing.
The third leg which was due in Montenegro on June 27 and 28 was scrapped during the Belgrade event amid coronavirus concerns voiced by the Montenegrin government.
The final leg scheduled for Bosnia's city Banja Luka on July 3 and 4 is likely to be cancelled, although the tour's organisers are yet to confirm its fate.
(Production: Fedja Grulovic, Kurt Michael Hall, Tim Hart)