Tennis has looked better. Djokovic’s “The Adria Tour” was well-intended, but turned into a catastrophe. Should Djokovic step down?
Djokovic is the man behind the Adria Tour and also the President of the ATP Player Council. He is the number one ranked player in the world and as such an important role model. That is why it is head-scratchingly strange that he tried to arrange an exhibition tournament without social distancing guidelines. The result is that he, his wife, his coach, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, and likely some other players, coaches, and people around the tournament now have the Coronavirus. This lack of understanding of the seriousness of the situation that has now endangered the spectators, the ball kids, players, and people working with the tournament is not befitting of a person with the power and responsibility that Djokovic has. So should Djokovic step down? I think yes, but I don’ think he will.
Should Djokovic Step Down? Yes.
The idea of the Adria Tour came from a good place. The aim was to raise money and to bring live tennis back to the region. But that could still have been done while complying with stricter guidelines. Djokovic has said that they did follow the guidelines of the government, but it is clear in retrospect that even if the situation in Serbia has been pretty good compared to many other places in Europe, it was too much too soon.
Djokovic has created plenty of headlines from non-tennis media due to the Adria Tour disaster. CNN wrote, “the exhibition event that shocked tennis“. The below quote from the source says it pretty well:
What Tim Crow refers to in his quote is that Djokovic has done a few controversial things during the pandemic. One was that he was not sure about playing the US Open due to the limited entourage of only one person. The other thing was that he did not like the idea of being vaccinated for the Coronavirus (if that was the requirement to play on the Tour again) and the third thing was that he talked on Instagram live about infusing objects with positive energy and making them more healthy.
Is this the kind of leader the ATP Tour needs? Not really. And perhaps he was never really comfortable with the role. Which is why I think it’s better for all if he steps down as the President of the ATP Player Council.
But he probably won’t…
The likelihood is that these events of the pandemic and the lockdown will be forgotten and things will move on in 2021 as usual. Most players are not keen on challenging Djokovic from a political point of view (although Kyrgios might want to), which is a shame because in politics you need challenging.
I am not sure who could do a better job in the position, but when you’re number one in the world, surely your focus should be on staying number one. A player ranked lower might be keener on taking on more responsibility and also be more in touch with the needs of other players in the same situation. When you’re number one, you’re on cloud one, and understanding how it is to be ranked #153 and having to struggle to make a living is not going to be on your radar as much.
Those are my two cents at least. Now I’m keen to hear yours!