VIDEO SHOWS: NEWS CONFERENCE WITH TENNIS STARS NOVAK DJOKOVIC, ALEXANDER ZVEREV, DOMINIC THIEM AND GRIGOR DIMITROV AHEAD OF THIS WEEKEND'S CHARITY TENNIS TOURNAMENT IN BELGRADE / PLAYERS TRAINING
RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT
SHOWS: BELGRADE, SERBIA (JUNE 12, 2020) (REUTERS- ACCESS ALL)
1. TENNIS STARS NOVAK DJOKOVIC, ALEXANDER ZVEREV, DOMINIC THIEM AND GRIGOR DIMITROV ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE
2. MEDIA TAKING PICTURES
3. DJOKOVIC, ZVEREV, THIEM AND DIMITROV AT NEWS CONFERENCE
4. MEDIA AND PLAYERS
5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING:
"Look, it's definitely different circumstances. I mean, we all can feel that even though we have different measures in Serbia than in the United States, for example, or the UK. So, it's very difficult to speak about an international standard. What is the international standard? I mean, nobody knows, really. So, it's more of an approach, I guess, a regional approach to see which countries allow these kinds of events to happen in front of crowds because they've been dealing with better numbers, maybe, compared to some other countries. And in the region here, we've had pretty, I think, decent success with the coronavirus. Of course, a lot of lives have been lost and this is horrible to see here and also worldwide and what is going on. But you know, life goes on and I think we as athletes, we are looking forward to playing and to compete."
6. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEXANDER ZVEREV, SAYING:
"I mean, look, everybody always wants to play a grand slam, if it's possible. But with the circumstances now, with the things that are put out now; it's going to be very difficult because - you know, arriving in New York you have to stay two weeks in quarantine at JFK, you're not allowed to go basically anywhere. And then you obviously need to come in advance because after two weeks you're staying in quarantine you're not going to be able to play a tournament straight away. So, you'll need to have another two weeks of maybe training and at this time you're also not allowed to go anywhere except the stadium and the hotel. And then for Cincinnati and then another two weeks for the U.S. Open; it's going to be the same thing. So, we're basically counting six or seven weeks of staying at JFK airport and the tennis stadium, which I don't know... Plus, you're going to play without spectators, plus you're going to play without the environment that you're used to. We won't be able to, I think, use locker rooms. No showers on site. No food on site? Yeah, basically nothing on site."
8. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOMINIC THIEM, SAYING:
"Yes, I mean it was four weeks ago when he (Djokovic) called us and he said that he wants to put up a tournament and we haven't played for a while. For me, it's my first time in Serbia and I really love to experience and explore countries for the first time. And that was also a big reason why it took me just a very short time to decide."
10. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
11. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GRIGOR DIMITROV, SAYING:
"Yeah, I was just about to say, I'm near home. So, it feels like home, it's welcoming. Even yesterday (June 11) when we played football, it felt like fellas from around the block that were playing together and I think that's one of the best feelings you can get. We all know how we are in that part of the world. Obviously, I'm proud to be who I am and where I come from and again, so is Novak and clearly he's if not the biggest ambassador of the country itself right now. So, he's done so much for the sport and for tennis and of course, it didn't take that much of convincing on my end."
12. DJOKOVIC, ZVEREV, THIEM AND DIMITROV STANDING UP FOR GROUP PHOTO
13. DJOKOVIC, ZVEREV, THIEM AND DIMITROV POSING, ARMS LINKED, FOR PHOTO
14. DJOKOVIC (RED, FAR END OF THE COURT) TRAINING
15. DJOKOVIC TRAINING
16. ZVEREV WALKING ACROSS TRAINING COURT
STORY: World number one Novak Djokovic is looking forward to returning to action in front of fans at the Serb's charity tennis tournament in Belgrade this weekend.
The first leg of Djokovic's Adria Tour is being held at his tennis complex by the Danube River, with Germany's Alexander Zverev, Austrian Dominic Thiem and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov arriving for the event.
Fans will be able to attend despite the COVID-19 pandemic after the government lifted its ban on outdoor public gatherings.
Serbia has 12,175 registered COVID-19 cases and 252 deaths
Djokovic said last week that proposed safety protocols at the U.S. Open, scheduled to begin on August 31, were so extreme it would be impossible to participate and world number seven Zverev backed up his concerns on Friday (June 12).
Several thousand fans are expected to throng the makeshift stands at Djokovic's complex over the weekend and Thiem and Dimitrov said they were delighted to be part of the event.
(Production: Fedja Grulovic, Branko Filipovic)