WTA World No.7 Kiki Bertens has questioned how Novak Djokovic was authorised to hold the Adria Tour and interact with fans during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Adria Tour, which features World No.1 Djokovic, as well as the likes of third-ranked Dominic Thiem, No.7 Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov, the World No.19, got underway in Belgrade last week.
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But Djokovic has copped widespread flak from tennis commentators and fans after hosting the charity event in Serbia amid the pandemic.
And WTA World No.7 Bertens was one star that weighed in early and expressed her shock at the jarring photos of the Serbian interacting with officials for the tournament.
"I saw him taking photos with everyone and shaking hands with the authorities during the presentation of the Adria Tour,” she told Eurosport.
“How can this be possible? In which part of the world is he authorised?"
Social media criticised the event, while it took place, for the apparent lack of social-distancing.
This is absolutely reckless, are there no liability laws in Serbia? How are they not scared of being sued into obvilion if there’s an outbreak?— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) June 12, 2020
The images coming from the Adria Cup are shocking— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) June 12, 2020
Players are calling for safety measures at the #USOpen and saying they might not play... but are OK w/ full stadiums, a packed, close-quarters kids day, hugs, mic-sharing, selfies at an exo?
Actually can't believe what Im seeing
The Dutch star also expressed concern over the US Open and what it would mean if a player caught the coronavirus.
"If someone tests positive for coronavirus, our sport would be stained forever," Bertens added.
Djokovic called out over ATP role
While the Adria Tour event took place, American tennis star Noah Rubin said Djokovic missed an important ATP Zoom call on whether the Cincinnati Masters and US Open should be played.
The Zoom call featured more than 300 players and went for 3.5-hour call, according to Rubin.
But watching Djokovic play football, and knowing his position on the US Open debate, infuriated the World No.225 and sparked him to question whether he should be in his role.
“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?" he said on the Behind the Racquet Podcast.
“Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are relied on. If you wanna look out for yourself, look out for yourself, this sport was built for that,” he added.
“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?”
But Rubin wasn’t finished claiming Djokovic’s absence was just a sign that tennis is a “logistical nightmare” and was “really a lost cause.”