Tennis star Alexander Zverev has been slammed for a fresh breach of social distancing, with footage emerging of him partying in the wake of the Adria Tour debacle.
Australian star Nick Kyrgios again took the lead in condemning the poor behaviour of his fellow player amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sascha Zverev again, man. Again, again – how selfish can you be? How selfish can you be?” Kyrgios said in a social media video.
“If you have the audacity to put out a f—ing tweet that you made your management write on your behalf, saying you’re going to self-isolate for 14 days and apologising to f—ing general public about putting their health at risk, at least have the audacity to stay inside for 14 days. My god, have your girlfriend with you for f—ing 14 days. Jesus, man.
“Pissing me off, this tennis world’s pissing me off, seriously. How selfish can you all get?”
WARNING: Offensive language
Zverev apologised for his role in Novak Djokovic’s exhibition tournament, which saw the world No.1, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki test positive for COVID-19. A number of entourage members, including Djokovic’s wife, also got coronavirus.
Kyrgios was outspoken after the event, branding it “boneheaded”. The Australian has questioned whether tennis should be pushing for resumption at all amid the pandemic, let alone in such ham-fisted fashion.
Zverev was not infected but expressed remorse at being involved in the event, which flaunted social distancing with disastrous results. The German was among a group of players who partied shirtless at a nightclub during the Adria Tour.
It was apparently a hollow statement from the world No.7. He was filmed partying in an Instagram upload from German fashion designer Philipp Plein.
Ben Rothenberg, a New York Times tennis writer, slammed Zverev and said that his actions cast doubt on tennis’ return amid COVID-19. The sport is aiming to return in August, when the US Open will begin.
“This is my concern with tennis attempting to come back mid-pandemic: not that precautions can’t be taken, but that too many tennis players are conditioned to be wildly self-centered and have no concept of how to act for the greater interest of a larger group,” Rothenberg wrote on Twitter in response to the footage of Zverev.
“Philipp Plein has already deleted the frame of his Instastory that most clearly showed Zverev partying today. No matter how lazy, sloppy and selfish players are about following public health guidelines mid-pandemic, they sure can spring to quick action to cover their asses.”
While Zverev was partying, another Adria Tour player – Dominic Thiem, who tested negative – is already playing another exhibition event despite close contact with COVID-19 in Djokovic’s tournament. Thiem was another player seen partying at a nightclub, along with the infected Djokovic and Dimitrov.
The Austrian is currently part of top coach Patrick Mouratoglou’s Ultimate Tennis Showdown in the south of France. He is also copping backlash from tennis media, having opted to keep travelling and playing rather than self-isolating.
Zverev is scheduled to play a Berlin tennis tournament in July.
One leg, outdoors at the Steffi Graf Stadium, will allow 1000 spectators. The other, indoors at Tempelhof Airport, will have 300 fans in attendance for matches.
The Adria Tour featured packed fans at events in Serbia and Croatia, leading to enormous backlash for Djokovic and other participants even before the outbreak of COVID-19 emerged.