Amritraj: “In spite of certain local government mandates, I think it is critical to follow some common sense”
Last Updated: 01/07/20 11:39am
Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj says Novak Djokovic could have applied a bit more common sense to how the ill-fated Adria Tour exhibition event was run.
The world No 1 has faced fierce criticism after he, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki contracted COVID-19 following the charity event in Serbia and Croatia.
Djokovic has since apologised and admitted it was probably “too soon” to run the event, which was played in front of packed stands in Belgrade.
But the former head of the ATP players’ council Amritraj believes although his intentions in organising the Tour were good, he should have gone the extra mile to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.
After finding out that the event itself had pretty much a full house from the perspective of fans and none of this social distancing, masks, all of that were even in play, it became very much more of a concern.
“In hindsight, yes, obviously he could have taken a lot more precautions before running the event,” the 66-year-old television pundit said.
“In spite of certain local government mandates, I think it is critical to follow some common sense.”
Amritraj, who reached a career-high ranking of 18 and beat Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver and Jimmy Connors during his playing career, thought the tournament would have been good for tennis as it would bring the sport back on television.
“As days progressed, I realised that they were going to put about 1,000 people in a stadium and I really didn’t know how big the stadium was,” he added.
“And later on… after finding out that the event itself had pretty much a full house from the perspective of fans and none of this social distancing, masks, all of that were even in play, it became very much more of a concern.”
Amritraj said the Adria Tour debacle showed there should be no crowds if, as planned, the main circuits restart in August after a gap of five months.
“The crowd usually makes a huge difference,” he said.
“Unfortunately you will lose that element of the match. It’ll be pretty straightforward to see a spectacular point and there’ll be no applause in the way.
“So that certainly will affect the players. But again, it’s something that we have to get used to, and it’s better than not having it at all.”