Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 July 2020

Andy Murray takes aim at Novak Djokovic over Adria Tour saga: 'It's not been a great look for tennis'

Several players and staff test positive for coronavirus after participating in an unsanctioned series played in front of packed crowds

Former world No 1 Andy Murray has become the latest tennis player to criticise Novak Djokovic after a spate of positive coronavirus tests emerged from the Adria Tour.

Djokovic revealed in a statement on Tuesday that he and his wife Jelena both tested positive for Covid-19 upon returning to Belgrade from Zadar, Croatia where the second leg of the exhibition series was taking place.

Bulgarian world No 19 Grigor Dimitrov was the first Adria Tour participant to announce a positive coronavirus test, leading to the cancellation of the Zadar final.

Croatian player Borna Coric then revealed he had tested positive, followed by Serbia's Viktor Troicki, as the Adria Tour cancelled the remainder of the series.

The tournament saw packed stands, with players hugging at the net, playing basketball, posing for pictures and attending press conferences together.

Djokovic also organised nights out in Belgrade for the players and videos of him dancing with the other participants were posted on social media, including some of the 17-time Grand Slam champion with his shirt off.

Given what has unfolded over the past few days, Djokovic has come under fire from players past and present.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios described the decision to host the tour as "boneheaded", while American player Noah Rubin said it was "reckless and disappointing".

Now Murray has offered his thoughts on the saga, believing the Adria Tour has harmed tennis' image.

“First, I hope [they] are well and they recover, and that everyone who is affected is healthy and safe,” the 33-year-old Scot said after making his return to the court with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Liam Broady at the behind-closed-doors Battle of the Brits tournament.

“In hindsight, it’s not something that should have gone ahead. It’s not surprising how many people have tested positive after seeing some of the images of the players’ party and the kids’ day. There was no social distancing in place."

Andy Murray played his first match after seven months against Liam Broady at the Battle of the Brits. Getty Images
Andy Murray played his first match after seven months against Liam Broady at the Battle of the Brits. Getty Images

Professional tennis has been in lockdown since mid-March, but the ATP Tour announced plans to resume the season in August, starting with the Washington Open.

The US Open, scheduled to take place August 31-September 13, is planning to go ahead under strict health and safety measures, although many players have expressed their doubts and Murray believes the debacle surrounding the Adria Tour is hardly going to help matters.

“Some people have said maybe this has put the US Open in doubt – which it may well do, but the measures and the protocols they have in place at the USTA [United States Tennis Association] are different to Serbia and Croatia," he said. "No fans for a start. Coronavirus doesn’t care about who we are or what we do. We need to respect it and respect the rules.

“I don’t think it has been a great look for tennis. The only positive is that, until it is safe to do so, we have no fans at the event to reduce the risk as much as possible.”

Updated: June 24, 2020 04:32 PM

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