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Novak Djokovic tests positive for coronavirus amid Adria Tour criticism

Last updated 3 months ago | By Mirror

Serbia's Novak Djokovic carries the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup around Rod Laver Arena after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's singles final of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, early Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

World No.1 Novak Djokovic has tested positive for the coronavirus after organising exhibition matches without social distancing.

Fellow stars Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troiki all failed Covid-19 tests following the events in Belgrade and Zadar.

Now reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Djokovic has tested positive to throw the planned return of tennis in August in question – and cause further controversy over his Adria Tour matches.

He said he has not shown symptons but will now self-isolate for 14 days.

Andy Murray and Dan Evans were among the players to criticise the Serb's exhibition matches.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner also decided to return from Croatia to Belgrade before taking a test.

Djokovic has issued a statement apologising for spreading the virus – but defended his decision to stage the events.

It read: “Novak Djokovic tested positive for a virus COVID-19.

"Immediately upon his arrival in Belgrade, Novak was tested along with all members of the family and the team with whom he was in Belgrade and Zadar.

"He is not showing any symptoms."

Matches on the Adria Tour were played in packed stadiums in Belgrade and Zadar over the past two weekends with no social distancing between the players.

At one point, Djokovic embraced his mixed doubles partner Jelena Jankovic on court after a long rally. The stars were also filmed dancing topless in a nightclub in the Serbian capital after the first event.

The final in Zadar was cancelled on Sunday after Dimitrov felt unwell on Saturday.

Djokovic had insisted his events had followed local guidelines in eastern Europe.

But British No.1 Evans said: “I just think it is a poor example to set. Should Novak Djokovic, the world No.1 and the president of the Player Council, be setting a better example? I think your question answers what I think. Yes.”

Australian star Nick Kyrgios declared it was a "bone-headed decision" to play the event.

And former world No.1 Andy Murray added: "It’s just not a good look for the sport when something like this happens.

"I hope that we learn from it and off the back of it they will be taking it extremely seriously because ultimately the tour won’t get back again if we are having problems every single week and the players are doing what they want. We need to make sure we are doing the right thing.

“Once you start having mass gatherings with people coming in from all sorts of countries, it's a recipe for it to kick off. It's kind of a lesson for all of us to take – if we weren't already – to take this extremely seriously, to have as many safety measures in place as possible.”

In his statement, Djokovic said: "Everything we did, we did with a pure heart."

Djokovic added: "The tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from southeastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the Covid-19 situation.

"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.

"We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the tour had been met.

"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."

Murray and other top British male players are in action at the Schroders Battle of the Brits at the National Tennis Centre today.

Organiser Jamie Murray admitted: “We know that there will probably be a few more eyes on us after what happened to the Adria Tour so everyone has got to be on top of their game when it comes to social distancing.”

 

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