As the majority of tennis world is questioning Novak Djokovic‘s sanity to organize the Adria Tour charity exhibition in the Balkans, evidently without social distancing measures applied and with about one thousand fans in attendance each day, which later resulted in a number of positive coronavirus cases among players and the cancellation of the tournament, WTA world No.25 Dayana Yastremska expressed her opinion about the whole situation and whether Nole’s sincere intentions only aggravated the already desperate state of tennis during the COVID-19 pandemic or not.
The Ukrainian defended her colleague on Instagram and here are excerpts from her statement:
I am afflicted and upset by the situation that has emerged around the organization of the Adria Tour tournament in Serbia. The organizers and players of the event found themselves under tremendous pressure. It is somehow even getting out of sight that this competition was held in compliance with country’s norms and regulations. If I had an opportunity to host the same kind of tournament, I would not hesitate a second.
I know that this threat is severe and invisible, which makes it dangerous. However, I am also perfectly aware that we live in the age of liberty when everyone can make their own decisions and can become whoever he wants. I would not be a tennis player today if this freedom did not occur twenty-nine years ago in my country. It is this freedom and independence that demands that everyone should be responsible for themselves and their actions. It means that everyone has a right of choice and personal responsibility.
It is nauseating and sickening seeing what Novak is going through. The whole blame was put on the person who just wanted to bring joy and positive emotions to people. And it happens at the very moment when everyone in my own country seemed to suddenly forget about quarantine. And now, instead of the words and vibes of support in his fight against the illness, all he is getting are the words of criticism. So much for the person who is writing a legendary story in tennis; the player, who is in the hearts of the millions of devoted fans. Everyone seems to forget how much he gave to fight the epidemic and how much he did in general for the development of tennis.
After sharing Yastremska’s viewpoint, I would also like to defend Djokovic on a couple of levels. First of all, he gathered elite tennis players and gave the audience in the Balkans a chance to watch a number of absolutely top level players for just about $5 to $10 a day! How often does that happen? Secondly, when it comes to Serbia, the tournament complied with measures imposed there at the time and Djokovic behaved just like all the other people in the streets (after strict lockdowns for several weeks, long before the Adria Tour, the situation went back to normal in Serbia pretty much overnight, which was indeed strange, but that had nothing to do with Djokovic).