Evans, the world No. 28 from Great Britain, was unimpressed by the ‘total disregard’ for social distancing measures, with the exhibition event welcoming packed crowds in Belgrade and Zadar, while players played basketball in close quarters and danced together in nightclubs.
The party atmosphere has now evaporated. Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric both tested positive for Covid-19, while Djokovic’s physio Marko Paniki and Dimitrov’s coach Kristijan Groh have also contracted coronavirus.
While other players were tested on site – with Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev among those whose tests came back negative – Djokovic went back to Serbia, where he is set to consult his doctor and an epidemologist.
Evans, 30, is in no doubt that Djokovic – the driving force behind the event – should take responsibility for his actions and hopes that the fiasco won’t have an effect on the return of the main tennis tour, including the US Open at the end of August.
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‘I just think it is a poor example to set,’ Evans said in a press conference on Monday ahead of the Battle of the Brits – an exhibition event running at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
‘Even if the guidelines in that country are not two metres I think we should all… it is not a joke is it?
‘Even if the guidelines were taken away in this country to normal I would still be trying to keep myself out of the way as much as I could from other people. And I just think there has been a total disregard to that.
‘It is very unfortunate that Grigor has it, Coric has it but, you know, if you strip it back, is it a surprise? I think that is the question we should all ask.
‘I think we could definitely learn from that. And hopefully that event doesn’t take away from… now the US Open, I hope there is no second-guessing now on the US Open because of unfortunate events.’
Asked if Djokovic should be setting a better example as world No. 1 and president of the player council, Evans bluntly replied: ‘I think your question answers what I think. Yes.’
So should Djokovic consider his position as player council president?
‘I don’t know,’ said Evans. ‘Honestly, when I sit in those meetings, I don’t know how it really works and how they get to those positions.
‘But, put it this way, I don’t think you should be having a players party and dancing all over each other and then, two very good tennis players have tested positive, you should feel some responsibility in this event and how it has transpired.’
Evans wasn’t the first player to take a swipe at the event.
Nick Kyrgios, the world No. 40 from Australia, branded the decision to run it as ‘boneheaded’.
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