Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge says Novak Djokovic “has a lot to clean up” and “didn’t set a great example” amid fears his positive coronavirus test has placed the US Open in jeopardy.
The world No.1 is under increasing pressure to step down as ATP Players’ Council president after players competing at his charity event tested positive. The world No.1 became the fourth player from the Adria Cup in Croatia to fall victim to the virus.
Hammered by fans and fellow players on social media, Djokovic issued an apology after footage emerged of the Serbian superstar partying with fellow players in a nightclub.
Now self-isolating along with his wife Jelena, who also tested positive, Djokovic said: “I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm.
Coronavirus: Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19
“We believed the tournament met all health protocols and the health of our region seemed in good conditions to finally unite people for philanthropic reasons.
“We were wrong and it was too soon. I can’t express enough how sorry I am for this and every case of infection.”
Woodbridge told Sports Sunday the Serbian star is under mounting pressure and his actions have had a detrimental impact on the game.
“He has a lot to clean up, his reputation,” he said. “He’s the president of the ATP. Many of the world’s media went hard at him for the way this was all set up. It has been terrible for our sport this past week.
“Obviously with Novak and his wife testing positive, Grigor Dimitrov, Goran Ivanisevic, Borna Coric and many of their team as well.
“He’s the leader of the players and he didn’t set a great example. So he’s going to have to do a lot to bounce back from that. Many of the players have called for that (resignation), we’ll wait and see what happens.
“He wasn’t all that appreciative of what the US Open were trying to do to get the tournament up and it’s put a big dampener on getting tennis started again.”
The ATP announced it would be lengthening the schedule this week, adding the Rome and Madrid Opens. However, with cases in the US rising daily and changing restrictions, some players could be forced into picking which tournaments to play.
“We’ve got three weeks of tournaments in the US and then straight to Europe to play the clay court season. The Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has come out and said we’re doing so badly in the US then you’re going to have to quarantine if your state isn’t doing well.
“What does that mean for the players coming in internationally? The European Union have discussed potentially not letting anyone coming in from the United States. So If you’re a European going to play in the US Open we don’t know if you’re going to able to quarantine and get back in time to get ready to play in the French.”