Even as tennis struggles to get its way back to the court amid the pandemic, couple of exhibition tournaments have kept things going as much as possible. The latest, Adria Tour starting on Saturday, is quite possibly the biggest collection of stars so far. Headlined and organised by World No 1 Novak Djokovic, the tournament gets going in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday.
Rather startlingly, there were no social distancing measures followed with fans in attendance at the makeshift stand at Djokovic’s tennis club on Friday. An opening ceremony was followed by a set of mixed doubles between Djokovic, Nenad Zimonjic, Jelena Jankovic and Olga Danilovic. In the press conference, Djokovic sat alongside Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov in front of a packed media room.
When queried if coronavirus was behind everyone’s mind, Djokovic said: “It’s definitely different circumstances. We all can feel that, even though we have different measures in Serbia than United States, for example, or UK. So it’s very difficult to speak about international standard. What is the international standard? Nobody knows, really,” as per Tennis.com.
“So it’s more a regional approach to see which countries allow these kind of events to happen in front of crowds, because they’ve been dealing with better numbers, maybe compared to some other countries. And in the region here, we’ve had pretty decent success with the coronavirus. Of course, a lot of lives have been lost, and this is horrible to see, here and also worldwide. But, you know, life goes on, and I think we as athletes are looking forward to play and compete, and the whole idea of this Adria Tour originated with a thought of how we could put together something like this.”
Exhibition tennis in Belgrade: Djokovic/Jankovic v Zimonjic/Danilovic pic.twitter.com/US9Yz4YxQj
— Del🇪🇺 (@Stroppa_Del) June 12, 2020
“This is a positive message,” Djokovic stated on the presence of four top level players. “Of course, you can see it from all different angles. You can also criticize, you can also say, well, this is maybe dangerous or not. It’s not up to me to make the calls, what is health-wise right or wrong, we’re just following what the government of Serbia is telling us. If we have the opportunity to gather like this, we’ll use the opportunity.
“Hopefully we, collectively as tennis, will be able to go to back on the tour very soon.”
Serbia has registered over 12,000 coronavirus cases and 252 deaths with the lockdown restrictions being lifted last month.
What is the Adria Tour?
The Adria Tour is a set of exhibition matches which begin in Belgrade, Serbia and will have its second round in Zadar, Croatia. The opening round in Belgrade begins 13 June. The round in Zadar gets going from 20 June. Other cities in the mix are Montenegro (27-28 June) and Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina (3-4 July). The final will take place in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 5 July.
Which players are playing the Adria Tour?
The tournament is supported by the Novak Djokovic Foundation and has him as the marquee player. Others involved are Thiem, Dimitrov, Zverev, Borna Coric, Marin Cilic.
Will the Adria Tour differ from the ATP Tour style of play?
All the matches will be played on clay and be best-of-three sets. To win a set, a player will need to win four instead of the usual six games. If the players are locked at 3-3, there will be a tiebreaker. The same format has been used before at ‘Fast4’ which precedes Australian Open.
The players have been divided into two groups: Novak Group and Dominic Group. Novak Group features Djokovic, Krajinovic, Zverev and Troicki. Dominic Group includes Thiem, Lajovic, Dimitrov and Dzumhur.
What is the schedule for the Adria Tour?
The schedule is as follows:
13 June (Day session)
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) – Dusan Lajovic (SRB)
Dominic Thiem (AUT) – Damir Dzumhur (BIH)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) – Viktor Troicki (SRB)
Alexander Zverev (GER) – Filip Krajinovic (SRB)
13 June (Evening session)
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) – Damir Dzumhur (BIH)
Dominic Thiem (AUT) – Dusan Lajovic (SRB)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) – Filip Krajinovic (SRB)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) – Alexander Zverev (GER)
14 June (Day session)
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) – Damir Dzumhur (BIH)
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) – Viktor Troicki (SRB)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) – Alexander Zverev (GER)
Dominic Thiem (AUT) – Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
14 June (Evening session)
Final and closing ceremony
Is the Adria Tour available in India?
It has been confirmed that two rounds will be made live across the globe. The action resumes live on Eurosport SD and Eurosport HD in India starting 5.30 pm IST.