“I deeply apologize to anyone that I have potentially put at risk by playing this tour. I will proceed to follow the self-isolating guidelines advised by our doctors.”
What guidelines have been advised to Alexander Zverev? It’s a question many will call on the 23-year-old to answer.
Zverev published the above statement on his Instagram after taking part in the first two legs of the Adria Tour in Belgrade and Zadar. Participants, including the German, were heavily criticized for engaging in direct-contact activities such as hugging, basketball and a night out clubbing. The former ATP Finals champion revealed then the news of a negative COVID-19 test, but event organizer Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric Viktor Troicki and Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic were among those to announce they had contracted the coronavirus. Ivanisevic didn't come up positive until his third test, 10 days in.
Sascha Zverev six days ago after Adria Tour coronavirus cluster:— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 28, 2020
“I deeply apologize to anyone that I have put at risk...I will proceed to follow self-isolating guidelines...stay safe ????.”
Sascha Zverev four hours ago: pic.twitter.com/vqBXvYdxkv
Six days later, a video surfaced of Zverev once again enjoying a DJ's playlist in a crowded room. This time, his shirt remained on at a restaurant in the French Riviera. Sunday’s upload was deleted by fashion designer Philipp Plein, but in an era defined by screen shots and trending topics, Zverev’s appearance hardly went unnoticed. He will rightfully be asked about his intentions, given 14 days of isolation are recommended when encountering anyone who has the virus, or may be showing symptoms. One person who is fed up with seeing a reckless disregard for health and safety is Nick Kyrgios, who has been outspoken about the matter on social media for weeks.
“So I wake up and I see more controversial things happening all over the world, but one that stuck out for me was seeing Sascha Zverev again... again. How selfish can you be?,” he asked in a series of Instagram stories.
“I mean, if you have the audacity to [expletive] put out a tweet that you made your management write on your behalf saying you're going to self-isolate for 14 days and apologizing to the [expletive] general public and putting their health at risk, at least have the audacity to stay inside for 14 days. My God. Have your girlfriend with you for [expletive] 14 days. This tennis world is pissing me off, seriously.”
Nick Kyrgios on Sascha Zverev. *A lot of things* were said. ???? pic.twitter.com/zWxl9opKjC— José Morgado (@josemorgado) June 29, 2020
Katie Boulter tweeted, “Please tell me I’m seeing this wrong. I’m speechless.”
World No. 3 Dominic Thiem, who won the Belgrade portion of the Adria Tour, has continued making appearances on the court. The Austrian never stated he would follow recommended social distancing protocols in his acknowledgement that the group’s behavior “was a mistake”, adding instead that he had five negative tests in 10 days. He returned to play an exhibition event in Kitzbuhel, before flying to Nice, France for another weekend of action at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), where he defeated David Goffin and Matteo Berrettini.
Frenchman Lucas Pouille was spotted at the same restaurant as Zverev Sunday, though has not been involved at any events involving a player with a positive COVID-19 test. He withdrew from UTS after competing in the inaugural weekend due to a right elbow injury, and was subsequently replaced. Thiem was in Belgrade during that time.
The ATP tour is scheduled to resume on August 14 with the Citi Open in Washington D.C.