The coronavirus came for the toxic masculinity tennis tour in the Balkans

Sports around the world are slowly coming back, with various precautions being taken for the pandemic. In the past week, the US Open confirmed that they’ll put on the tournament with zero crowds in the stands, with players’ temperatures being taken constantly, and on-site corona testing every few days (plus many other precautions, like a hotel lockdown). It feels like a lot of people and a lot of sports are taking the “pandemic season” seriously and trying to be safe. And then there’s the “Adria Tour.” The Adria Tour was started by Novak Djokovic, the #1 men’s tennis player in the world and president of the ATP Players Council. Djokovic designed a multi-country weekend exhibition tour throughout June – his home of Belgrade first, then Zadar, Croatia this past weekend. They were planning to go to Montenegro but Monty said “nah.”

I watched the Belgrade matches and the Zadar matches for the past two weekends, and I’ve been following the tennis stuff online. It was STARTLING. There were top players like Dominic Thiem, Sascha Zverev, Marin Cilic, Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and of course Novak, and NONE of them were social distancing. None of them wore masks. None of them avoided close contact with each other or non-tennis people. The stands in both Belgrade and Zadar were packed with almost entirely maskless fans. In Belgrade, Novak and the guys all went out partying and drinking:

They also held “kids clinics” where, you guessed it, there were no masks or gloves or social distancing. There were ball kids at their matches without masks or gloves as well. New photos of the crowds and the lack of distancing and masks were met with horror. In turn, critics were told “well, Serbia and Croatia barely have any coronavirus cases.” Yeah. Then yesterday, Grigor Dimitrov – also known for dating Maria Sharapova at one point, and for dating one of the Pussycat Dolls – left Croatia, flew home to Monaco, and tested positive for corona. He had just played on Saturday!!! And wouldn’t you know, the guy he played on Saturday, Borna Coric, also tested positive.

The final match in Zadar was cancelled yesterday and everyone – except Djokovic, the architect of this mess – stayed around to be tested. Dimitrov’s coach also tested positive, as did Djokovic’s fitness coach. Meanwhile, Djokovic didn’t take a corona test in Croatia (reportedly) and flew home to Belgrade. This is all a huge mess and now it feels like the actions of these absolutely ridiculous men will ruin what small chance there was to have a somewhat safe tennis season.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

46 Responses to “The coronavirus came for the toxic masculinity tennis tour in the Balkans”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Redgrl says:

    Entitled cement heads.

  2. Xpresson says:

    What an utter ass this guy is!!!! noo sorry a Donkey has more common sense than him!

  3. Tanguerita says:

    stupid wankers.

  4. Esmom says:

    Wow, what an utter shitshow. I don’t think other sports will be happening anytime soon, either, though. After hearing that college football was on, I read yesterday that 20+ players on the Clemson team testing positive.

    Maybe these incidents will open people’s eyes that the Rona is not gone just because we’re tired of the safety measures.

    • Noodle says:

      @esmom, and several players on the San Francisco 49ers football Team tested positive too. They had been practicing together. Unless they do the “bubble” thing that the NBA is planning to do, I can’t imagine football (either college or professional) having a season this year.

    • Lady D says:

      Six Tampa Bay hockey team members now have covid, along with 3 more staff. I was really hoping Vancouver would be chosen as a hub city for the playoffs, but after the news coming out of Florida about infected baseball team members and the 2 hockey teams infected, it’s probably going to be cancelled too:(

    • 10KTurtle says:

      I got in a huge argument with my boss last week. He was saying how nothing should have ever been shut down and people should have been able to choose for themselves whether to stay home, and the NFL should be able to play and Dr Fauci has no right to say they can’t play, blah blah blah. I said, “Okay- How many people are on a football team?” He said 40-something. “Okay- LSU currently has 30 players out on 14-day quarantine- how are they supposed to play this week? Or next week?” He says something about back ups and whatever. “What if the 30 people are the entire starting team and every quarterback? What if the other team has too many people out too? Those 30 come out of quarantine, then somebody else tests positive and everyone they had contact with goes into quarantine, and that’s happening on every team, every week, so how the hell do you play a season schedule?” Uh uh uh… It just isn’t going to work until we have a vaccine.

  5. Vanna says:

    Aah my proud dumb culture. Lovely to see that the balkans / ex-yugoslavian mentality won’t change fast. /s

  6. Marni112 says:

    D was very clear in interviews that life must go on and if you get it, you get it.Wonder how many people will become ill and will end up dead as a result of this shit show.

  7. SM says:

    D has always been a douch. Even when he just is on the court, even when winning. So no surprise there. Just like no surprise he is an anti science some conspiracy enthusiast. They are all so brave and manly spreading a nonscientific nonsense and yet, let’s see, whether he gets a doctor or a shaman in case he is sick.

    • MMC says:

      When was he a douche? He is said to have some quack beliefs, but I never heard anything bad about him off court.

      • Coz' says:

        His attitude on court sucks. I was lucky enough to attend the Roland Garros semi last year. Granted the weather was absolutely terrible : so so windy. But of all the four men I saw playing this day, only one whined about it, going to the referee every 5 mn, crying out loud about the weather, sulking like a petty child…
        In the first match, Federer lost in 3 straight sets. He did not once asked the referee for a recess. After the match he said that yes, the wind was terrible but it blowed the same way on each side of the net. But Djokovic made his defeat about the weather.

      • MMC says:

        Eh, I tend to not judge people for being emotional on court ( and I find that some of the flack Đoković has been getting has a lot of slavophobic undertones, the emotional Eastern European in contrast to the Western European Swiss gentleman, but that’s another story). Off court he seems to be great and he is very much liked all across the Balkans.

      • Tanguerita says:

        he is ignorant and stupid, and never hesitates to use his platform and popularity to spew misinformation on numerous important issues. I can’t stand him, can’t wait for him to be gone.

      • Coz' says:

        @MMC I don’t mind expressive players. But I mind bad sportsmanship. On the court Nole is known to be a whiner. He argues all the time.

      • Eugh says:

        I don’t believe he has a good reputation on tour. Nevermind the previous impersonations he used to do, fckery he used to do not wanting to play or delaying matches.

        Rafa and Roger seem not to like him and I think that says a lot from two very charitable and gracious people.

        And per below he definitely cheats on his wife and is an anti-vaxxer so that’s enough for me

    • geekychick says:

      the word on gossip sites of the region is that he cheats on his wife.

  8. MMC says:

    I am from Croatia, and we handled the coronavirus incredibly well. Only a 100 dead, almost completely gone by the end of May. But, they opened the country too soon. Most of our income comes from tourism so they tried to save the tourist season and this happened.

    I really really like Đoković, by far my favourite non Croatian tennis player, and he’s by all accounts a great guy, but this was not handled well.

  9. Abby says:

    Ugh! I have been reading, that of all the sports, tennis is actually one of the safer ones to compete in during the pandemic. But not if you’re being big dummies and not being safe about it! sigh.

  10. Laalaa says:

    As a Croatian, I was so incredibly proud how well we handled the epidemic. But watching the opening of this tournament on the news I was shocked and scared. And I was right.
    I am so embarrassed. Not to mention that Đoković is the worst person when it comes to thinking about others’ health. I can’t believe they let the tournament happen.

  11. Oatmeal says:

    This is why I damn near lose my !@$@% every time some moron goes on about “tEnNiS iS tHe pErFecT sPoRt for Corona”

    Like first of all, yes the players don’t come into contact, but they sweat and then they grab the tennis ball with their sweaty hands and the ball kids handle the sweaty balls and hand them to both players

    Then you have just the logistical nightmare of tennis. Tournaments are held in countries all over the world which means traveling . Now sure , top level players can afford private planes but the rank and file take commercial flights

    Also, tennis is NOT just two players and an umpire. There are ball kids, linespeople, umpires, medical trainers(who get up close to players when they need on court medical attention) , support staff like folks who string racquets and work security

    You gotta somehow house and food and keep all those folks safe during the duration of the tournament

    Tennis is a nightmare during a pandemic as this tournament has shown and it was a tiny one at that with not nearly as many players as even a smaller ATP event

    Pure foolishness

    • Sof says:

      I agree with you, plus it’s not just the players and their teams, many travel with their families. Nothing can guarantee that those people aren’t asymptomatic, they all should have done a 14 day quarantine just in case.
      Besides, did no one think that the hotel’s and restaurant’s employees might get sick by being in contact with people who flew from abroad?

  12. mareliccca says:

    The situation in Croatia was great (almost no new infected people in weeks) and now god knows how many people will get sick because of this stupid tournament and tourism. I have no respect for Đoković, his ridiculous ideas about medicine and health (anti-vaxxer) have been discussed here before. It’s not just that those same tennis players played basketball with each other (i.e. close contact sport), they also spent a lot of time with children without any kind of distancing and, now it would seem, testing before entering these countries (although Serbia has a lot more cases than Croatia, still the situation seems to be good and manageable for the time being).

  13. Tiffany says:


  14. Tiffany says:

    ATP Players Counsel need to pull Novak’s presidency ASAP !!!1

    If he keeps it at this point it will look like a joke.

  15. Oatmeal says:

    Glad to see Djokervic is being excoriated in my tennis message forum. Roddick and Kyrgios have both basically said this tournament was a dumb idea once the positive tests were revealed

  16. TyrantDestroyed says:

    I don’t follow tennis so I have no idea who they are but I think the organizer was recently featured in a couple of Celebitchy articles for being a man who believes in conspiracies and was not sure about vaccination. If it’s him it interesting that Covid 19 came to bite their bros’ backs.

  17. S says:

    Well,we had elections yesterday in Serbia,everything had to be seemingly well for those to held,including sports. That being over,we expect another round of lockdown. It was disaster in waiting.

  18. TheOriginalMia says:

    Reading all the apologia tweets has been a mixture of Doh! and anger. I mean…they all followed Novak‘s direction and he led them straight to Covid. All the hugging and high giving and dancing and drinking like we aren’t in the middle of a freaking pandemic that’s killed nearly 200K people and infection almost 2 million. How utterly irresponsible of every single player, their teams and the fans who participated in this event, which seemed to have a superspreader in their midst.

    • Original Jenns says:

      These apology tweets are BS. They all follow the same script – “so sorry for the harm I may have caused (no you’re not), I’m feeling ok (of course YOU are), thanks for the support (no), stay safe (by not acting like your selfish ass)”… They and anyone “supporting” this irresponsible behavior have people’s health and deaths on their shoulders.

  19. geekychick says:

    Hi from Croatia! I’m actually 100 kilometers from Zadar right now. Croatians are FURIOUS. Our tourism is in serious crisis due to COVID, and as one of the main economic activities in Croatia, people are panicking.
    after this, our touristic season will be OVER. This means that at least third of our nation will loose their job.
    Our primeminister went all in for this Adria tour and claimed this will bring our touristic season around. I have to stress the fact that we were one of the rare countries in the region (which is central Europe, not Balkans, but okay) with really low COVID rates……and this is a very, very serious outbreak.
    anyway, this is a standard thing that thappens in a country where everything can be bought and rules changed if you have enough fame and money.

  20. Sof says:

    We all knew it! The moment I saw Zverev getting off the plane and greeting everyone with a hug, it was obvious. Ugh.
    I don’t know if this is true, but appartently Djokovic has finally agreed to get tested.

    Also, I can’t believe the only player that is making any sense is Kyrgios! He’s opposed to the USO due to covid and the social protests.

    • TheOriginalMia says:

      I saw the tweet saying Djokovic and his family were tested once they returned to Serbia. Thing is…I don’t know if we’ll get the truth about those tests from Djokovic. Kyrgios made a lot of sense in what he was saying. I couldn’t believe I was agreeing with him.

  21. Valiantly Varnished says:

    D has always been a giant douchebag. This is yet another example of that.

  22. Shutterbug says:

    Idiots! You don’t see this kind of tomfoolery from Roger and Rafa!

    (Yes, aware that Roger is injured at present).

  23. ClaireB says:

    I guess I’m happy that Djokovic has been showing his a$$ so that I could stop admiring his athleticism and can just sneer whenever I see him. And I never thought Kyrgios would say anything I’d agree with. I miss Andy.

  24. L4frimaire says:

    What an utter disaster. This perfectly illustrates how easily this virus is transmitted. They didn’t even pretend to follow any precautions and those cities they were in will start having a cluster of cases.

  25. khaveman says:

    Stupid and careless. And let me throw in an irresponsible to others.

  26. FYI says:

    I’ve been watching this on the Tennis Channel, and I kept wondering — is this from last year?!?! Why is NO ONE in the stands wearing a mask? No one! Why aren’t the umpires wearing masks?! Not one single person in that whole stadium was taking any precautions whatsoever! It isn’t difficult to require masks — which is the number one safety measure.

  27. Catherine says:

    I’ve been dying to tennis gossip with you. If US Open is cancelled because of these idiot men I WILL BE SO 😡 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

  28. Thea says:

    Why are they limboing at the club?

  29. JP says:

    Aaaand Djokovic has tested positive, what a mess!