"[Serbia] allowed everyone to do whatever they want," Manchester United soccer star says.
Serbian soccer star Nemanja Matić is defending compatriot Novak Djokovic in the aftermath of his Adria Tour debacle.
The Adria Tour, which launched in Djokovic's native Belgrade, featured high-fives and hugs between players and little social distancing or masks among fans.
Several players, including Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, contracted coronavirus after playing the Adria Tour.
While Djokovic, an organizing force behind the tour, has taken the brunt of the backlash against reckless behavior on the Tour, Matić says the Serbian government opened up the country and gave the world No. 1 approval to host the Adria Tour.
"People need to understand that the situation in Serbia was better than here," Matić, who plays for Manchester United, told Sky Sports. "The country allowed everyone to do whatever they want, everything was open, the shopping centres and the restaurants.
"So they started to live normal lives because our country was closed for three months completely. You were not allowed to walk on the street, you couldn't leave your home, so it was different than [England].
"But when they opened they said 'you are more than free to do whatever you want'. Before that tournament, there was a game with 20,000 people and nobody said anything about that."
Photo credit: Adria Tour Facebook