World No.1 Novak Djokovic, who tested positive for Covid-19, apologised by saying he was “deeply sorry” for hosting an exhibition Tennis tournament ‘too soon’. Djokovic, the fourth tennis player after Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki to test positive for Covid-19 also admitted that he and organisers “were wrong” to go ahead with the event.
Djokovic’s fitness coach Marco Panichi and Dimitrov’s coach Christian Groh have also tested positive.
“The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested,” Djokovic said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that he was not showing any symptoms. “My result is positive, just as Jelena’s (wife), while the results of our children are negative.
“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. I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days.”
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) June 23, 2020
“We believed the tournament met all health protocols and the health of our region seemed in good condition to finally unite people for philanthropic reasons.
“We were wrong and it was too soon.”
The organisers said that the remainder of the Adria Tour had been cancelled, the two-day event on July 3-4 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and the planned exhibition match with Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in Sarajevo on July 5.
Serbia has 13,092 registered cases and 263 dead due to the pandemic but both Serbia and Croatia eased lockdown measures weeks before the tournament and players were not obliged to observe social distancing rules in either country.
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, 33, 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.
“Prayers up to all the players that have contracted Covid- 19,” said Nick Kyrgios, retweeting a video of the players dancing shirtless in Belgrade.
(With Reuters inputs)