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Tennis: Novak Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19

Tennis: Novak Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19

File Photo: Adria Tour - Belgrade, Serbia - June 14, 2020 Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his match against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Marko Djurica

BELGRADE: Novak Djokovic, the men's world number 1 tennis player, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Croatia's Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Viktor Troicki had previously tested positive for the coronavirus after playing in Djokovic's Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkan region. 

READ: Coric, Troicki test positive for COVID-19, poses questions for sport's return

"We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met," the Serbian said in a statement on Tuesday (Jun 23). 

"Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.”

Djokovic took the coronavirus test on Monday after returning to Belgrade from the Croatia leg of the event. His wife, Jelena, also tested positive for COVID-19, but his children have not been infected.

"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," Djokovic said.

"I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days."

READ: COVID-19 pandemic still accelerating: WHO chief

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 organised nights out in Belgrade for the players and pictures and videos of him dancing with the other participants at his event were posted on social media.

With both Serbia and Croatia easing lockdown measures weeks before the event, players were not obliged to observe social distancing rules in either country.

Djokovic said the idea behind his tournament was noble and he wanted 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.

"The Tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from South-Eastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the COVID-19 situation."

A following statement confirmed that the remainder of the Adria Tour had been cancelled, the two-day event on Jul 3 and Jul 4 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and the planned exhibition match with Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in Sarajevo on Jul 5.

"We are extremely disappointed to have to cancel the events in Banja Luka and Sarajevo," said Novak's brother Djordje Djokovic, the director of the Adria Tour.

"We were looking forward to treating fans in these two cities to watching Novak Djokovic and other top players. Unfortunately, the recent events make everyone’s speedy recovery a top priority."

The debacle of the Adria Tour was the worst imaginable outcome, Djokovic's brother Djordje earlier said on Tuesday.

"This was the worst possible scenario," the event's director Djordje Djokovic told Serbia's Prva Television.

"Novak was not obliged to take the test in Croatia as he had no symptoms. He took the test straight after his flight landed in Belgrade.

"Around 100 people were tested and I was hard hit by news that some of them came back positive, especially my childhood friend Borna Coric. We wish all of them a speedy and painless recovery."

Plans to resume the ATP and the WTA tour schedules could be redrawn. Revised calendars were released last week for the resumption of the circuit from August while organisers of the US Open said the Grand Slam will be staged without fans as scheduled from Aug 31 to Sep 13 in New York.

READ: Murray plans to play both US, French Open

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Source: CNA/reuters/jt(mi)

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