Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has come to the defence of under-fire tennis superstar Novak Djokovic after multiple cases of coronavirus emerged from the tournament he organised in the Balkan region.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and his brother organised the Adria Tour exhibition tennis event to raise money for charity which was intended to help in the fight against coronavirus.
But it turned out to be a disaster as Djokovic, along with three other players – Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki – tested positive for Covid-19 after participating in the tournament.
Djokovic’s wife Jelena, his fitness trainer and coach Goran Ivanisevic also contracted the virus along with a few others who attended the tournament.
Djokovic has been facing flak ever since Dimitrov revealed his positive Covid-19 test, becoming the first player to contract the virus. Videos and pictures of players interacting, embracing each other, playing basketball and partying like they did in pre-COVID-19 days became viral on social media.
Djokovic issued two apologies for organising the tournament, the final leg of which had to be cancelled. But Ana Brnabic defended Djokovic urging people to leave him alone.
“Every part of him. He tried to do something good for the whole region. To put politics aside and help young and non-established tennis players, as well as to raise money for humanitarian purposes.
“It’s my fault, it’s not Novak Djokovic and leave the man alone. Every part and all support to Novak,” Brnabi said in an interview on PinkTV.
Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic also defended his Serbian compatriot for hosting the ill-fated tournament amid the pandemic.
“People need to understand that the situation in Serbia was better than here (in England). The country allowed everyone to do whatever they want, everything was open, the shopping centres and the restaurants,” Matic told Sky Sports.
“So they started to live normal lives because our country was closed for three months completely. You were not allowed to walk on the street, you couldn’t leave your home, so it was different (than England).”
While some unofficial tournaments have been played without spectators in the stands, such as the Battle of the Brits exhibition tournament in London, the Adria Tour attracted a capacity crowd in the Serbian capital city of Belgrade.
“I just wanted to say that it is not his fault that he made the tournament, he just wanted to help the players play competitions. I don’t see that he (did) something wrong,” Matic said.