The good news about the planned tour restart from last week was overshadowed by lousy corona news from Zadar on Sunday. Dimitrov, followed by Coric and Troicki, got positive test results on “COVID-19” after participating in the second week of Adria Tour, organized by Nole Djokovic. Djokovic himself was tested positive too.
Novak’s statement ? pic.twitter.com/SZhRH1Bifn
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) June 23, 2020
As sad the news is, I would not draw a strict conclusion about canceling the rest of the tennis season now. I think it is too early to make any definitive call.
Adria Tour is not a model we should follow
First of all, the conditions in Belgrade and Zadar were indeed surprising for many fans and journalists. The full stands, no social distancing, and no face masks raised the doubts of many. However, it was allowed by Serbian and Croatian authorities. Now we must hope that the spread of the virus can still be contained if the state health authorities will now do their job to trace and test.
On the contrary, there were other tennis tournaments played during June (e.g., in series of matches in Prague, UTR Pro on Florida or Ultimate Tennis Showdown in Nice), and we did not hear about any positive tests of players or spectators. The difference lies in strict rules that were set by organizers. Testing of players, minimizing of social contacts between players, referees and organizational staff, and a limited number of spectators (or no spectators at all). These tournaments will be an example to follow for all future competitions in August.
And if you do not believe in tennis organizers, look at soccer leagues in Europe that are playing behind closed doors with no positive tests either. The only thing you need is to set the rules and keep them.
US Open is still far away
The second reason for taking the more reserved stand at the moment is the time. We are one and a half months from the start of the first tournament in August and two months till the US Open, the first highlight of the restarted tour. There can be a much different pandemic situation in the middle of August. We can hope that it will be better, but it is just our hope. However, make any conclusions now is just too premature.
Set the rules, keep them and play
Overall, I would not cancel the season yet.
The presented rules for US Open seemed as too strict, but Adria Tour showed them to be right. No spectators (or just limited numbers), strict hygienic and disinfection rules, periodical testing of players, and all participating persons and the obligatory wearing of face masks outside of the tennis court will probably be a must. It may look bothering, but as above mentioned examples showed us, they are worth it for the sake of our health.
And what about the tennis itself? Do not worry. What I saw in June from Prague, Nice, or West Palm Beach was enjoying and refreshing. The performance of all players was at a high level, and it will not be different in August.