While the rest of the players who participated in Novak Djokovic’s ill-fated tennis event were undergoing emergency coronavirus tests in Croatia, the man himself was heading to Monaco.
The World No.1 is at the centre of scandal after testing positive for coronavirus after his controversial Adria Tour event in Serbia and Croatia.
Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki have all tested positive after the event, with Djokovic’s wife Jelena and a number of trainers also contracting the virus.
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Djokovic is already under fire for organising and going ahead with the event, but stunning details about his movements in the lead-up to his test have caused more uproar.
After Dimitrov tested positive and the Adria Tour was cancelled on Monday, all other players and support staff underwent emergency testing at the second leg of the event in Croatia.
But not Djokovic - he fled back to his home in Monaco without being tested.
He then tested positive on Tuesday.
Commentators condemn Djokovic for ‘fleeing’
Fans and commentators are up in arms over Djokovic’s disturbingly cavalier attitude.
As Tumaini Carayol of The Guardian explains: “Following the cancellation of the championship match, the deflated players were ushered into a parking lot at the dead of night as they queued to see whether they too had been infected.”
“Arguably the best tennis player of all time had invited them all to his event and exposed them to unsafe conditions, but as they nervously waited he was nowhere to be seen.
“It is now known that Novak Djokovic crossed borders with coronavirus in his system, as his long-awaited statement confirmed on Tuesday, marking an apt conclusion to a surreal saga.”
Will Swanton of The Australian described Djokovic’s actions as “shifty”.
“There’s something shifty about Djokovic fleeing the Balkans and returning to Monaco without being tested,” Swanton wrote on Wednesday.
“All players and support staff have fronted at the event hotel in Zadar, Croatia – except Djokovic, reportedly because he ‘hasn’t felt any symptoms.’
“It is a poor look at best, a sneaky disappearing act at worst.”
New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg listed it among five blunders Djokovic has made since the pandemic started.
Rothenberg included Djokovic’s recent anti-vaccination comments and shock claims that ‘toxic’ food and water can be purified with the mind.
“Which mid-pandemic Djokovic health blunder was most egregious,” he asked his followers on Twitter.
Which mid-pandemic Djokovic health blunder was most egregious?— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 22, 2020
Pick one or rank them:
1) Anti-vaccine sentiments
2) Instagrams featuring charlatan
3) Saying water can be purified with positivity
4) Holding bacchanalian Adria Tour
5) Leaving Croatia w/o test post-Grigor news
Novak Djokovic offers grovelling apology
“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” Djokovic said on Wednesday.
“Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”
Djokovic, who has previously said he was against taking a vaccine for the virus even if it became mandatory to travel, was the face behind the Adria Tour, a series of exhibition events that started in the Serbian capital of Belgrade and then moved to Zadar.
Despite the positive test, he defended the exhibition series.
“It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this,” Djokovic said.
“We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.
“Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.”