Multiple tennis stars — including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic — are facing backlash for a video that has surfaced depicting reckless partying at a Serbian nightclub days before No. 14-ranked Grigor Dimitrov tested positive for coronavirus.
Dimitrov confirmed via Instagram on Sunday that he tested positive after his match against Borna Coric at the Adria Tour, Djokovic’s charity tournament. Coric later tested positive as well, and the event has been cancelled.
The video, which was posted to Twitter last week, is a who’s who of European tennis and specifically highlights Dimitrov and Djokovic, as well as Alex Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Filip Krajinovic, Dusan Lajovic and Jelena Jankovic for throwing caution to the wind and partying together at Lafayette Cuisine Cabaret Club in Belgrade.
The video begins with the text, “CALM START,” in French on the screen and immediately points out Djokovic, who is doing a Macarena-style dance to Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”
The next scene shows Djokovic dancing close to Jankovic, a fellow Serbian player. Next, the text, “And worse, Zverev takes the stage” flashes over the German tennis player as he begins dancing to “Let’s Get Loud.” Zverev is initially wearing clothing, but the next scene shows him shirtless and appearing to don a bucket-shaped object on his head with the text reading, “Dressed … or hairy chest with a bucket on the head!”
The next scene shows a handful of shirtless men, one of whom drops to his stomach to mimic a slug’s movement. The text above reads, “And there it goes in a lollipop!” in French, which is a colloquial phrase that loosely translates to, “Then all hell broke loose!”
The video ends with the text, “Anyway, it ended late, very late,” on the screen and Djokovic singing next to a piano.
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios excoriated the tournament’s participants on Twitter by quote-tweeting Coric’s revelation.
“🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️ Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the ‘exhibition’ speedy recovery fellas, but that’s what happens when you disregard all protocols,” he wrote on Monday. “This IS NOT A JOKE.”
Kyrgios has been vocal in his opposition to the restart of tennis, calling the United States Tennis Association “selfish” for moving forward with the US Open last week.
Britain’s Dan Evans narrowed in on Djokovic, the tournament’s organizer who has said he is opposed to vaccination in order to play, for setting “a poor example.”
“Put it this way, I don’t think you should be having a players’ party and then dancing all over each other,” Evans said on Monday via BBC. “He should feel some responsibility in his event and how it’s transpired.”
Retired American tennis player Andy Roddick also wrote on Twitter, “Apparently there’s a pandemic ……..” in reply to photos of the exhibition event that were posted after Dimitrov and Coric tested positive.
Djokovic was slated to face off against Dimitrov in the final match when the organizers pulled the plug.
“Thank you for these three wonderful days, but we had to cancel the finals. I’m sorry. We don’t want more people to get infected. Thank you very much, see you again,” Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic said.