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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, July 8, 2020

 
Novak Djokovic

"I still don't know if I will play at the US Open. I certainly don't play Washington, Cincinnati in the plan," Novak Djokovic said today.

Photo credit: Christopher Levy

Novak Djokovic is undecided on playing the US Open—and called out critics for creating a "witch hunt" after his Adria Tour cancelled amid coronavirus cases.

The world No. 1 has ruled out playing American hard-court events in Washington, DC and Cincinnati. Djokovic  is planning to play Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros.

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"I still don't know if I will play at the US Open," Djokovic told Serbia's Sportski Zurnal. "I certainly don't play Washington, Cincinnati in the plan. Participation in Garos is safe for now, and Madrid and Rome are also planned."

The three-time US Open champion said spikes in coronavirus cases in the United States gives him pause about playing the Flushing Meadows major. 

"I still haven't decided whether I will play in the US Open," said Djokovic, who retired from his US Open fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka last year. "The upsurge in registered COVID-19 cases in the United States and New York in particular are not playing into the event's hands."

Djokovic faced major backlash after his Adria Tour largely ignored social distancing and safety protocol. Players on the Tour were hugging and high-fiving at times.



Video of Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and Filip Krajinovic dancing shirtless in a Belgrade club circulated on social media. Player behavior in the video drew major criticism after Djokovic, Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki announced they tested positive for COVID-19.

The eight-time Australian Open champion said he's been subjected to a "witch hunt" by those seeking "a main culprit" for the Adria Tour debacle.

"Lately, I only see criticism, very malicious," Djokovic said. "Obviously, there is something more than that criticism, as if there is an agenda, as if it were a witch hunt. Someone has to fall, some person, some big name has to be the main culprit for everything."

Nick Kyrgios, who slammed the Adria Tour as a "boneheaded decision", sent his prayers and some jabs to some stars on the tour.

Retweeting video of Djokovic, Dimitrov, Zverev and others dancing closely in a Belgrade club, Kyrgios called the behavior the epitome of stupidity.






Djokovic, who has recovered from coronavirus and returned to practice with Troicki this week, said the idea behind the charity exhibition event was pure, but concedes "we've learned our lessons."

"My intention was pure, I was wholeheartedly committed to organising a humanitarian event to help players and tennis federations in the (Balkan) region," Djokovic said. "We complied with all the laws and regulations. But we've learned our lessons and some things could have probably been done in a different way."

 

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