Novak Djokovic Tests Positive for Coronavirus After Organizing Tennis Tournament With No Social Distancing

No one saw this coming for world’s No. 1 player

Last Updated: June 23, 2020 @ 8:07 AM

Novak Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 tennis player, has tested positive for coronavirus after organizing and playing in a tournament earlier this month with no social distancing guidelines. He is the Adria Tour’s fourth player to test positive.

Djokovic, who ranks third in the history of men’s tennis with 17 Grand Slam titles, says his wife has also tested positive for COVID-19. Though he is not currently presenting symptoms, Djokovic said he will self-isolate for 14 days.

“Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with. I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were,” Djokovic said in a statement to the Associated Press on Tuesday. “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.”

The tournament was held in Belgrade and Zadar, Croatia on June 13-14 and 20-21. The other players to test positive (thus far) are Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki. The tournament, which was intended to raise money for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, was cut short after Dimitrov tested positive over the weekend.

“It was all 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 to this,” Djokovic’s statement continued. “We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.”

Djokovic and the other organizers have been criticized for the exhibition tournament’s casual attitude toward social-distancing practices. The stands were packed, and the players allowed to interact with fans. The participants also hugged each other and were photographed partying together.

Djokovic has been a polarizing figure in the sport with regards to his attitude about COVID-19 precautions. In April, Djokovic was criticized for saying he would not want to take a vaccine for the virus, the AP wrote. In May, while in Spain, Djokovic broke local lockdown rules by practicing at a tennis club before it was allowed.

More recently, Djokovic complained about the U.S. Tennis Association’s plans limit the size of a player’s entourage.

The ATP and WTA professional tennis tours were suspended in March. Plans called for sanctioned events to resume in August.