The world number one men’s tennis player, Novak Djokovic, has expressed his sincere regret and apologizes after becoming the latest tennis player to test positive for coronavirus.
The Serbian had created a tournament called “The Adria Tour 2020” which was planned to be staged across four nations – Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina – between June 12th and July 5th.
Fans were allowed to attend the event and tickets sold out quickly. The first part of the tournament, held in Serbia, got underway and was completed successfully.
However, the second part of the tournament in Croatia led to three of the participating players – Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, and Viktor Troicki – testing positive for covid-19.
The final of the event in Croatia was cancelled and since then, Djokovic and his wife have also tested positive for the virus.
The event recieved fierce criticism from other tennis players and officials who are outraged that proper social distancing was not maintained throughout the tournament.
During matches, players were seen hugging and video also emerged of the players dancing with their shirts off for huge crowds of people.
Some of the more notable responses to the event, include Andy Murray, who said:
“Obviously it’s not surprising how many players have tested positive when you see the scenes and the images and the videos from the tournament and the players party with no social distancing in place.”
Another men’s tennis player, Australian Nick Kyrgios, used the opportunity to detract from his own famous antics, saying:
“Prayers up to all the players that have contracted covid-19. Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ — this takes the cake.”
Questions were also raised about the probability of other tennis events taking place this year. Former women’s tennis star, Martina Navratilova said:
“Yikes this is not good and it’s a pattern. Hope Novak will be ok of course! What now, US Open? Roland Garros? We have a lot of work to do.”
The response from Djokovic was one of regret and sadness. He released a statement on Twitter which read:
The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested. My result is positive, just as Jelena’s, while the results of our children are negative.
Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament was 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 covid-19.
It was born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded.
We organised the tournament when the virus had weakened, believing the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.
Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality we are learning to cope and live with. I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were.
I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and everyone will be fine.
I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days.
The US Open, scheduled to begin on August 31st, has now been thrown into doubt with a number of players concerned for their safety.
Source: BBC Sport