Sports | June 22, 2020 1:18 pm

Coronavirus Outbreak Cancels Novak Djokovic’s Tennis Tournament

Novak Djokovic hits a tennis ball
One of our age's truly great thinkers, deep in thought
AFP via Getty Images

Novak Djokovic is lucky that he’s world-historically good at tennis. Beyond his 17 Grand Slam titles and his increasingly airtight case as the greatest player of all time, Djokovic is a proud endorser of the kind of junk pseudo-science that’s normally reserved for listless cousins selling Herbalife from their garage. He believes in telepathy, but not vaccines; he wants to sell you some Advanced Brain Nutrients for the low price of $50. And now he’s treating a deadly pandemic with all the nuance and tact that you would expect from somebody who believes that water pollution is actually good.

Over the weekend, two players tested positive for coronavirus while participating in the Adria Tour, an exhibition circuit hosted by Djokovic that showcases the finest eastern Europeans that tennis has to offer.  Those players? Grigor Dimitrov (the world’s 19th best player) and Borna Coric (world number 33), the withdrawals of whom forced the tour to cancel its most recent tournament in Zadar, Croatia. In addition to the two players, Djokovic’s fitness coach Marco Panichi also has the disease, while the world no. 1 himself is awaiting the results of a test.

The charity-benefitting Adria Tour has undoubtedly pure intentions, but the event was always destined to end this way. If Djokovic could solve how to safely reopen society, the world would be a very different — and healthier — place. But he is uniquely and resoundingly unqualified for that role, and so here we are.

Nick Kyrgios, the sport’s clown prince who treats tennis with as much esteem as Djokovic treats science, publicly criticized the asphalt-brained dumbness of playing in front of a maskless, sold-out crowd.

“Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the ‘exhibition’ speedy recovery fellas, but that’s what happens when you disregard all protocols,” he wrote on Twitter. “This IS NOT A JOKE.”

Although this barnstorming contagion train is now on hold, the ATP tour is scheduled to resume on August 14th. Hopefully Djokovic doesn’t get any more big ideas in the interim.

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