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.
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.
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.