Djokovic has now responded to the fallout from the first weekend of the Adria Tour, and given his perspective on the circumstances and decisions behind the staging of the event.
Ball kid wins point against Djokovic with delightful drop shot at Adria Tour
"I know there have been some criticisms as well especially coming from the West: 'why do we have a crowd? Why not having social distancing? What is going on and why are they having this kind of event in the midst of a very hard pandemic in the West?'" he told the Eurosport pair.
"But, you know, it’s hard to explain to people that the situation is really, really different maybe in America or the UK than it is in Serbia or surrounding countries, and obviously from the day one of the organisation of the Adria Tour, [we have been] following the rules and the measures that have been regulated by obviously the government institution and the public health institution.
We have never crossed those lines, so we always waited for them to give us a green light whether we could or could not have the crowd, and then we asked them once we could have, how much we could have, whether there was a social distancing or not. So we have been through all those processes and the result of it all is amazing.
"I’m extremely satisfied. I’m grateful to all the people that participated for the organisation in a very short time for this kind of event. You normally need three to six months, at least, to put everything together; we all did it in three to four weeks.
"So it’s a huge effort, a huge success, and I think it’s a positive image for the sport in general, for tennis. I think it is important that we move on to do whatever we possibly can to provide opportunities for players regionally, continentally, and hopefully soon inter-continentally to compete and earn money, to earn points, and to live out of this sport as they [the players] have through all their careers.
"We had to mobilise as many people as possible, trying to understand also the regulations and the measures that allow us to hold an event," he continued.
Dominic Thiem & Novak Djokovic
Image credit: Getty Images
"At the beginning we weren’t thinking that we would be able to have the crowd, and of course lots of people lost their lives because of the virus and it’s very difficult to understand how to approach it and how to behave.
"As athletes and tennis players we obviously want to move on and find ways in areas in the world which maybe deal with the coronavirus better than other ones, and tried to organise an event, with the crowd, without the crowd, with prize money, trying to get sponsors involved.
"So that is where the Adria Tour was born, and together with the tennis federation of Serbia and some individuals, we put this together and it did completely exceed my expectations. It was phenomenal.
I was emotional in my last match that I played there with Zverev. The last 10 minutes of the match I spent on the court I was crying, I was sobbing. I remembered all my childhood days, the days I grew up on those courts.
Emotional Djokovic in tears as he leaves Adria Tour in Belgrade
"I remembered my first tennis coach Jelena Gencic that obviously passed away eight years ago. I remembered everything.
"It was beautiful to be able to play as world number one in Belgrade in front of the Serbian crowd and to see the full stands and then just to celebrate sport, to celebrate tennis, and do it for a good cause, of course. Absolutely, I’m filled with joy and with positive emotions."