Novak Djokovic attacks 'witch-hunt' and casts doubt on US Open involvement

Ruben Hill
July 9, 2020

"Lately I have seen only criticism, and a lot of it malicious", began Djokovic.

Djokovic, widely criticised for hosting the tournament, issued an apology, saying he was "so deeply sorry" that the event "caused harm".

However the world number one feels that some of the criticism has been too pointed, and added that it felt like a witch-hunt. Someone has to fall, some person, some big name to be the main culprit for everything.

The event was canceled after world No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 33 Borna Coric and ATP pro Viktor Troicki all announced they had tested positive.

But Djokovic said the widespread criticism he received was like a "witch hunt".

Speaking to the Sportski Zurnal reporter Vojin Veličković, Djokovic was unrepentant about any unfortunate consequences that might have flowed from the lack of social distancing at his Adria Tour event, which involved a first leg in Belgrade on June 13 and 14, followed by a second leg in the Croatian city of Zadar a week later.

Novak Djokovic can be seen among a large number of young volunteers waving on court
Novak Djokovic said he would"probably do things differently if he had his time again

"My intention was pure, I was whole-heartedly committed to organising a humanitarian event to help players and tennis federations in the [Balkan] region", he said. "But we've learned our lessons and some things could have probably been done in a different way". He and his wife tested negative for COVID-19 last week, 10 days after that.

Novak was also asked if he'll play in the upcoming U.S. Open.

The US Open will be the first Grand Slam following the restart, due to get underway behind closed doors in NY on August 31.

The Serbian said he thought the ATP's revised ranking system, due to be introduced in August, was "correct". Djokovic is unsure if he will be there.

"I still haven't decided whether I will play in the US Open [which is scheduled from 31 August to 13 September], the upsurge in registered Covid-19 cases in the United States and NY in particular are not playing into the event's hands", added Djokovic, who was back in training on Tuesday with Troicki.

New York City is no longer a hot spot for the virus. Cases are spiking in southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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