Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (L) and his wife Jelena during a match at the Adria Tour, Novak Djokovic’s Balkans charity tennis tournament in Belgrade on June 14, 2020. - AFP
AFP - World number one Novak Djokovic’s hopes of hosting a successful exhibition tournament during a pandemic spectacularly backfired yesterday when he became the fourth player to test positive for coronavirus, raising serious questions about the sport’s planned return in August.
Djokovic, who was not showing any symptoms, joined fellow players Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki in testing positive for COVID-19 during the second leg of his Adria Tournament where social distancing was minimal.
Djokovic said his wife Jelena also tested positive while the results of their children were negative.
“I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection,” said the 33-year-old Serb, who has said he would be against a compulsory coronavirus vaccination if it became a requirement for tennis players to travel to tournaments.
“I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine,” the 17-time Grand Slam winner said, adding that he would now go into self-isolation for the next 14 days.
Bulgaria’s Dimitrov, the world number 19, announced on Sunday he had tested positive after pulling out of the event, the biggest since the tennis season was halted because of the pandemic that has killed at least 472,173 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year.
Croatia’s Coric and Troicki of Serbia also followed suit on Monday, revealing they also had tested positive.
The final in the Croatian coastal town of Zadar was cancelled Sunday while the final stop of the ill-advised Adria Tour, in Bosnia in early July, was also scrapped after the news of Djokovic’s infection.