KEY POINTS

  • Novak Djokovic says he should not be blamed for the COVID-19 debacle at the Adria Tour in June
  • Djokovic said he would not hesitate to host the same event again if given the chance 
  • Djokovic looks to inch closer to Roger Federer's record as he is set to compete in the U.S Open

Novak Djokovic is not taking any responsibility for the debacle at the Adria Tour in June. The world No. 1 said he does not feel any regret despite the dreadful turnout of the event that he hosted, insisting that he did not commit anything deplorable to take the brunt of the blame.

“I don’t think I’ve done anything bad,” Djokovic told the New York Times. “I do feel sorry for people that were infected. Do I feel guilty for anybody that was infected from that point onward in Serbia, Croatia, and region? Of course not. How can you blame one individual for everything?

“We tried to do something with the right intentions. Yes, there were some steps that could have been done differently, but am I going to be then forever blamed for doing a mistake?

“I mean, OK, if this is the way, fine, I’ll accept it, because that’s the only thing I can do.”

Djokovic came under fire after several participants at the Tour in Serbia and Croatia had tested positive for the Coronavirus. Critics slammed the tennis star’s mishandling of the event, saying that proper protocols to contain the spread of the virus were not implemented and observed.

But amidst the fault-finding saga, the Serb superstar, who himself acquired COVID-19 from the same event, said he won’t hesitate to host the tourney again in the future.

“If I had the chance to do the Adria Tour again, I would do it again. It’s like a witch hunt,” he said as he appeared to take a shot at the media.

Djokovic is set to compete in the U.S. Open in New York. And with 17 Grand Slam titles to boast heading to the tournament, the 33-year-old would not let go of the gas pedal as he chases Roger Federer’s Majors record, which currently stands at 20.

“I cannot say it’s the main reason why I’m here, but it’s one of the reasons,” Djokovic said on the chance to inch closer to Federer, who decided to skip the tournament due to a knee injury. “I have to think about myself and my health and my fitness and whether my team is OK to be here. Once that was checked, then I also felt responsible as a top player to be here. It’s important for our sport to keep going.”

Besides Federer, another fierce rival, Rafael Nadal, has also decided not to compete in the major event.

Djokovic is also scheduled to appear in the Western and Southern Open that will serve as a tune-up for the U.S. Open set on Aug. 31 until Sept. 13.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic has tested positive for the new coronavirus Serbia's Novak Djokovic has tested positive for the new coronavirus Photo: AFP / Andrej ISAKOVIC