Under-fire Adria Tour cancelled after Djokovic’s positive test

Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic hold a press conference after Thiem wins the final match in Serbia at the Adria Tour charity exhibition (Photo by Milos Miskov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The organising committee for the Adria Tour tennis tournament has cancelled its remaining matches after a number of players, including director and founder Novak Djokovic, tested positive for Covid-19.

Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki also tested positive after participating in matches in the Serbian capital of Belgrade and Zadar in Croatia. The Tour had been due to host further events in the Bosnian cities of Banja Luka and Sarajevo but these will now not go ahead.

Djokovic set up the eight-man Adria Tour to raise funds for national federations and support the Covid-19 relief effort. The tournament began in Belgrade on June 13 and was contested in front of packed stands, with players and fans interacting with each other and ignoring social distancing after lockdown measures were eased in Serbia and Croatia.

Djokovic launched the tournament after the ATP regular season was suspended. In a statement released yesterday (Tuesday) he said that the tournament met the necessary hosting conditions but the 17-time grand slam champion has apologised for the positive tests.

Djokovic, whose wife Jelena also tested positive, said: “Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.

“The Tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from South-Eastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the Covid-19 situation.

“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.”

He added: “Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with. I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were.

“I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine. I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days and repeat the test in five days.”

Pay-television broadcaster beIN Media Group acquired exclusive rights to the Tour in 24 countries across the Asia-Pacific and Mena regions, while international sports broadcaster Eurosport picked up rights for its Eurosport 2 linear channel and Eurosport Player across Europe, except in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. In those markets, it showed all matches on a 24-hour delay.