The world’s number one tennis player Novak Djokovic has tested positive for COVID-19 today, as he formally apologised to everyone else who contracted the virus after playing in an exhibition tournament he organised in Serbia and Croatia.
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, Croatia’s Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki have previously tested positive after playing in Djokovic’s Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkan region.
The organisers say that the remainder of the Adria Tour had been cancelled, the two-day event on July 3-4 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and the planned exhibition match with Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in Sarajevo on July 5.
“The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested,” Djokovic said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that he was not showing any symptoms. “My result is positive, just as Jelena’s (wife), while the results of our children are negative.
“I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine. I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days.”
Serbia has 13,092 registered cases and 263 dead due to the pandemic but both Serbia and Croatia eased lockdown measures weeks before the tournament and players were not obliged to observe social distancing rules in either country.
The tournament witnessed packed stands during the opening leg in Belgrade, players hugging at the net, playing basketball, posing for pictures and attending press conferences together.
Djokovic, who earlier said he faces a dilemma if a vaccine becomes compulsory for players to compete when tennis resumes, insisted that the idea behind his tournament was to raise funds for players in need.
“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” said Djokovic, who is also the head of the players council of the men’s ATP Tour.
“Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”