Tennis is back … going well in London, disaster in the Balkans

It is lovely to have some live tennis to watch, and I’m pleased to say that everyone involved in the tournament at the LTA National Tennis Centre, organised with scrupulous care by Jamie Murray, is following the protocols/safety measures made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic.  Unfortunately, the Adria Tour in Serbia and Croatia ended in disaster, with four players and a number of connected people – including a heavily pregnant woman – testing positive for the virus after players stood in a row with their arms round each other, hugged at the net, and partied in a nightclub.  We’ve now got the unedifying spectacle of Novak Djokovic’s dad saying that it was all Grigor Dimitrov’s fault, because he tested positive first!  Excuse me?  This is not the school playground.  You can’t go around pointing the finger at another person and saying “Miss, it was his fault, he started it”.  No-one intended to cause any harm to anyone else, but none of them were behaving appropriately.  Yes, it’s really horrible that we can’t hug our friends or go out partying, but this is how it is.  *Everyone* needs to take responsibility for what they’re doing in the current situation.  Actions have consequences.  Oh, guys, what were you thinking?!

No-one’s done this on purpose.  None of the players would have been there if they’d known they had the virus.  And, to be fair, no-one broke any rules.  Serbia and Croatia have not been badly affected by the virus, and social distancing rules there are far less strict than they are in many other countries.  This is possibly going to be an issue as borders reopen and travel resumes.  Crowds are allowed into sports stadia … and 5 players at Crvena Zvedza (Red Star Belgrade) have tested positive.  But the players should have known better.  You can’t even say that they were a bunch of silly young lads who didn’t think – three of the players affected are in their 30s or late 20s.

We all make mistakes.  The tournament was meant to raise money for charity.  But we all need to take more care at the moment.  I’m sick of seeing people on buses without face masks, and big crowds gathering in the park.  We’ve been hearing about “lockdown raves” and street parties.  It’s not on.

Actions have consequences.  This has made headlines all over the world.  It’s put the resumption of tennis, and of other sports which haven’t restarted yet, in danger.  Tourism chiefs on the Dalmatian coast are worried that it might put people off visiting.  And the players’ reputations have suffered lasting damage: I’m seeing headlines like “Djo-cov-idiot”.  Please, please, let’s all think about what we’re doing, and take care, for our own sakes and those of everyone else.