Leave Novak alone! blame me, says the Serbian prime minister

While the novel Coronavirus is rapidly spreading across different parts of the world, some countries are finally starting to get the contagion under control. This leaves the question of whether sports are ready to resume in this world of  new-normals to much debate. Germany was the first country which began allowing sports, and in particular football to be played behind closed doors. Similarly, Spain, England and Italy followed suit.

Safety protocols have been in place through these events but what has added impetus to this debate is the infamous ‘Adria Tour’ organised by Novak Djokovic across Serbia  and Croatia. This event was meant to unite and entertain people through tough times, however it turned out to be a recipe for disaster. During the final leg of the tournament, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgarian origin tested positive for the virus, resulting in the entire event being suspended. What followed was a barrage of positive cases including Borna Coric, Vicktor Troicki, his pregnant wife, followed by Novak Djokovic himself among others. While this has brought along with it the blame game, this does not seem to be completely unwarranted.  No social distancing norms were followed, no masks were worn and there were no practices in place to maintain hygiene and health according to reports from the event.

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Novak Djokovic has been on the receiving end of global backlash ever since. His event has been touted as ‘irresponsible’ , ‘reckless’ and ‘selfish’. Amidst this barrage of criticism the Serbian PM, Ana Brnabic has come to his rescue. She believes that fingers should be pointed at her and not at Novak Djokovic. In her view, Novak tried to ‘unite the region, put politics aside, and raise money for humanitarian purposes’.

She went on to stress that the entire blame should be placed upon herself as it was her decision to allow free movement and lifting of the COVID-19 enforced lockdown.

Novak Djokovic has apologised for his actions after testing positive for the virus himself. He stressed that everything was done with ‘a pure heart and sincere intentions’ while simultaneously acknowledging that the timing of the event was too soon.