Tennis great aims dig at Djokovic virus fiasco as Bouchard pops bubbly

Canadian ace Genie Bouchard has taken part in a socially-distanced tournament with 15 other female stars, leading German player Andrea Petkovic and former world number one Rennae Stubbs to subtly criticize their male counterparts.

Players who took part in the invitational event in the US wore masks, kept their distance from each other and played matches behind closed doors.

Bouchard, who filmed herself struggling to pop open a bottle of champagne on court following her final match, was pictured touching rackets with other players rather than shaking hands or embracing her fellow competitors.

“Our team won but the fact we could play tennis in a healthy and safe environment is a win in itself,” she said.

“We played better than we celebrated, I promise. Can someone teach me how to open a champagne bottle, please?”

The scenes in South Carolina were in stark contrast to the tactile cameraderie at Novak Djokovic’s recent Adria Tour in Serbia and Croatia, which resulted in the men’s world number one, three other players and Djokovic’s coach, former Grand Slam winner Goran Ivanisevic, testing Covid-19 positive.

Former French Open semi-finalist Andrea Petkovic replied: “So far, from what I can gather, female tennis players have conducted themselves in an admirable manner in these trying times of crisis. Am I right?”

In a post to her Instagram following of more than 125,000, she added: “If these were normal times we’d be in the midst of broccoli season, partying male players would be just another Tuesday and I would still do my best at pretending to know how to play on grass, but here we are.”

Champion-turned-commentator Rennae Stubbs, who won six Grand Slams doubles titles during her career, was unimpressed with Djokovic joining his rivals to play other sports while they were together, having previously criticized him for potentially putting the US Open in jeopardy later this year.

Speaking about the women who took part in Djokovic’s tournament, Stubbs pointed out: “I believe none of them got [the virus]. Might have to do with not playing sweaty basketball or soccer together. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

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