Spanish Tennis Club Apologizes for Allowing Novak Djokovic to Play Amid COVID-19

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2020

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after he beats Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the final match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

The Puente Romano Marbella Tennis Club apologized for allowing tennis star Novak Djokovic to practice on its courts during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We are sorry that our interpretation of the regulation could have been erroneous, and this could have inconvenienced Mr. Djokovic or any other citizen acting in good faith," the club said Tuesday, per TMZ Sports.

The apology came after Djokovic posted a video of himself hitting a tennis ball back and forth with someone else on his Instagram page on Monday. The video drew ire on social media given Spain's social distancing rules in place amid the pandemic.

TMZ explained Spain's stay-at-home rules say athletes are permitted to work out by themselves but not with anyone else.

The inclusion of another player, even if they were just hitting the ball back and forth, is how Djokovic broke the rules in place.

Spain has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases (219,329) and fourth-most deaths (25,613) in the world, per CNN.com. It also instituted very strict stay-at-home regulations as a result.

The ATP, along with many other sports leagues across the world, is on hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic. The ATP and WTA announced play was suspended until at least July 13, and a number of events have been postponed or canceled.

Wimbledon was among the events that were outright canceled this year. 

Djokovic was ranked No. 1 in the ATP singles rankings at the time of the suspension.


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