Djokovic beaten as tour's Montenegro leg is scrapped
By Zoran Milosavljevic
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic, the world's number 1, lost one of his two opening singles games at the charity tournament he organized on Saturday. His day got worse when it became known that one of the event's four legs had been scrapped due to concerns about the corona virus.
Shortly after defeating his Serbian compatriot Viktor Troicki in his opening game, Djokovic said he was disappointed that the second leg of the Adriatic tour in Montenegro, scheduled for June 27-28, had been canceled.
"I'm so sad about the stage in Montenegro," he told Balkan Nation's Sport Club TV in a court interview in front of 4,000 viewers.
"We tried everything, but the borders are still not open and we don't have time to organize everything."
With 12,251 confirmed cases and 253 deaths related to COVID-19, Serbia is one of the countries whose residents are not allowed to travel to their southern neighbor Montenegro.
The previous Saturday, Djokovic's younger brother Djordje and the director of the Adria Tour published a statement saying that the event's board had decided to scrap Montenegro's leg.
At a press conference after his loss to Filip Krajinovic, asked if there was an alternative host country that could replace Montenegro in two weeks, Djokovic said:
"We are considering various alternative options and locations that I do not want to disclose here.
"We have no more time to know where we are tomorrow or the day after tomorrow."
The second leg will take place from June 20 to 21 in the Croatian coastal town of Zadar and the last in Bosnian Banja Luka on July 3 and 4.
The tournament organized by Djokovic, while international tennis remains suspended due to the COVID 19 pandemic, has drawn some well-known names and adopted a more optimized format than the main tournaments.
The sets were reduced to the best of seven games, with eight players competing against each other in two round robin pools.
After Djokovic defeated Troicki in straight sets, he lost 4: 2, 2: 4, 1: 4 against Krajinovic.
The second seed and Austrian number three in the world, Dominic Thiem, defeated Damir Dzumhur within minutes when the Bosnian dropped out in the opening set with a thigh injury, but one in his 1-4, 4-1, 4-3 win over Dusan Lajovic had to save the match ball.
The Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov defeated Lajovic in three sets, but was stunned by domestic crowd favorite Nikola Milojevic 4: 1, 4: 3 - as a replacement for Dzumhur.
Number seven in the world, Alexander Zverev, defeated Krajinovic 0: 4, 4: 3, 4: 3 and played in a late game against Troicki, which began after midnight local time.
The third round pool games will be played on Sunday afternoon, followed by a final between the group winners around 1800 GMT.
(Written by Zoran Milosavljevic; editing by Pritha Sarkar and Hugh Lawson)
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