Novak Djokovic, wife test positive for Covid-19 after tennis ace partied and played hard on exhibition tour
It looks like tennis ace Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour project was doomed from the start, especially after top-seed announced today that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
The 33-year-old tennis legend — who revealed his skepticism about vaccination earlier this year — said he was the sixth participant in the exhibition series who had caught the pathogen though he showed no symptoms.
This comes after two events from the series, held in Belgrade and Zadar respectively, had almost no social distancing measures in place. Players were often seen getting up close during fun soccer kickabouts or hitting the nightclubs.
Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, and Viktor Troicki have already tested positive for the virus, along with Djokovic's fitness trainer Marco Panichi and Dimitrov's coach Christian Groh.
Djokovic tested positive after returning to Belgrade. His wife Jelena has also tested positive, although their children have not.
"The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested," he said in a statement, before explaining he had only good intentions in arranging the exhibition series. "Everything we did in the past month we did with a pure heart. Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region."
"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," he continued. "We organized 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," Djokovic added.
However, the world number one did not address the conduct of the matches, which were like any ordinary ATP event, nor the extracurricular activities the players indulged in.
"I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection," Djokovic said at the end of his statement. "I hope that it will not complicate anyone's health situation and that everyone will be fine."
The Adria Tour is now likely to be canceled considering the main attraction is resolving to go into isolation.
It's worth noting that the tennis legend has made major charitable donations to the fight against Covid-19, including financial aid to Serbian health authorities, as well as those in the Lombardy region of Italy.
In April, however, Djokovic revealed in a Facebook Live event that he is against vaccination.
"Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn't want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel," Djokovic said. "But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision."
"I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don't know," he added. "Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August, or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet."