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Djokovic announces Balkan region series, Thiem joins

May 23, 2020 13:59 IST
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Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic, who won his 17th Grand Slam title at the 2020 Australian Open, has been 18-0 this year in all matches. Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

With professional tennis shut down by the novel coronavirus pandemic, world number one Novak Djokovic is bringing together some of the world's top tennis players for a series of matches to run from June 13-July 5 in the Balkan region.

All pro tennis tours were suspended in early March and will not return before August as countries went into lockdown and closed borders to contain the spread of the virus.

Some players, including Djokovic, have returned to the practice courts while maintaining strict hygiene and social distancing norms, and some exhibition events without fans have also been held in countries like Germany and the United States.

 

"I'm proud to officially share the news that the #AdriaTour will be held across the #Balkans 13 June - 5 July kicking off with a tournament in Belgrade," Djokovic, who turned 33 on Friday, said in a Twitter post.

"Very grateful we could make this happen to play and support humanitarian projects across the region."

World number three Dominic Thiem of Austria and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who is ranked 19, have confirmed their participation in the eight-man event which will end with Djokovic's exhibition match against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Zadar, in Croatia, Montenegro and Banja Luka in Bosnia will be the other venues for the matches, which will be broadcast on television.

Djokovic, who won his 17th Grand Slam title at the 2020 Australian Open, has been 18-0 this year in all matches.

He lifted the ATP Cup with Serbia, won an eighth Australian Open title and then completed a fifth triumph at the Dubai Tennis Championships, extending his unbeaten run to 21 matches dating back to last season.

Kenin, Andreescu to be part of team event in Charleston in June

Sofia Kenin and Bianca Andreescu will be among 16 women's players to compete in Charleston next month in the largest event held since the season was derailed in mid-March by the COVID-19 crisis, the Tennis Channel said on Friday.

American Kenin, who won this year's Australian Open, and Canada's Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, will take part in the Credit One Bank Invitational, which will be aired on the Tennis Channel and begin on June 23.

It will be held without fans in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The 16 players will be divided into two teams with Americans Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands serving as captains. The tournament will feature 16 singles matches and eight doubles contests.

"Let's Do This!!" Mattek-Sands wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Other players slated to participate include former world number one Victoria Azarenka, 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and 2016 Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig.

The field will be completed by Americans Amanda Anisimova, Jennifer Brady, Danielle Collins, Emma Navarro, Alison Riske and Shelby Rogers as well as Canadians Eugenie Bouchard and Leylah Fernandez and Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic.

Charleston hosts the WTA's Volvo Car Open annually in early April, but organisers were forced to cancel this year's event due to the pandemic.

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