Tennis SA won’t make the mistakes that made a mockery of the Novak Djokovic exhibition event

25 June 2020 - 13:45 By Liam Del Carme
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his victory over Rafael Nadal of Spain after their men's singles semifinal match at Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his victory over Rafael Nadal of Spain after their men's singles semifinal match at Wimbledon.
Image: Getty Images

Although government is yet to provide all the do’s and don’t around the sport’s return to play‚ Tennis SA’s chief executive Richard Glover says his organisation will avoid the indecent haste which saw Novak Djokovic’s exhibition tournament come to a farcical end last weekend.

The world No1 tested positive on Tuesday days after he hosted some of the game’s top players in the Adria Tour exhibition event in the Balkans.

Djokovic has been roundly criticised for hosting an event during the Covid-19 pandemic‚ which also saw positive results for Grigor Dimitrov‚ Viktor Troicki and Borna Coric in the tournament held in Serbia and Croatia.

Although Tennis SA does not organise tournaments that attract the game’s top practitioners‚ they do have events that have been put on ice as a result of the pandemic.

Although they want their players to return to action‚ they will wait for government approval before a ball is served.

“It muddies the waters because now people think tennis must be dangerous‚” Glover said of the Adria Tour event.

“You have to see some of the pictures of what they were doing‚ like going to nightclubs‚ playing basketball and wrestling with each other.

"They had a great time. No social distancing protocols at all. It was because of everything else but tennis (that caused the spread of the virus).

“We operate under very strict guidelines. We are going to make sure that everyone complies with the guidelines‚” stressed Glover.

While Wimbledon has been cancelled‚ the US Open and Roland Garros (the French Open) are still scheduled for August and September respectively.

Glover believes the events that unfolded in the Balkans should not be used as a test case for how tournaments are likely to be organised.

“There is another tournament‚ an UTR (Universal Tennis Rating) event taking place in the US and they are following the guidelines very carefully and there have been no issues there.

"They have some big name players taking part like (Stefanos) Tsitsipas and I think they are using that as the model for other tournaments further down the line like the US Open.”

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