Former French tennis ace Jean-Francois Caujolle wants to see more top players speaking out and condemning Novak Djokovic for putting on an exhibition event in the midst of a global pandemic.
The world No 1 organised the Adria Tour which pitted some of Europe’s biggest stars against one-another in front of small, yet packed-out stadiums.
Social distancing guidelines were ignored and four players, including Djokovic and his wife Jelena, have tested positive for coronavirus.
The rest of the tour has been scrapped and the true gravity of the outbreak is not known.
Djokovic has apologised for leading the event but Caujolle wants to see more pressure piled on the Serbian.
“It’s a good lesson,” Caujolle said. “It’s up to the players to say it and the players should become big boys.
“Between those who think it and those who are soft in the belly, they should wake up a little and not let go.
“I would like to hear from [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga, [Gael] Monfils, Federer, Nadal. I would like to hear these guys say now: ‘too much is too much’.”
Federer and Nadal have not played any competitive tennis since the ATP tour was suspended in early March.
The two legends have remained silent but Caujolle thinks the situation would have been a whole lot worse had they been involved.
“Novak Djokovic’s exterior is smooth but the interior is a little tormented and violent,” the Marseille tournament director added.
“Today, he is not the tennis icon. If Federer or Nadal had done that, it would have had even more impact.
“But Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal would not have done it. For me, it will have no impact on ATP.
“On the contrary, it is a private promoter which makes a bulls**t (event).
“The ATP has implemented a hyper-drastic American-style protocol.”
Djokovic has since released an apologetic statement which read: “We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.
“Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.
“I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection.
“I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that every will be fine.
“I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days.”
Published at Thu, 25 Jun 2020 10:45:00 +0000