Over a month after he tested positive for Coronavirus, Grigor Dimitrov is back on the court, competing in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in France. But the Bulgarian said he is still reeling from the mental and physical effects of the infection.
“Clearly I’m not ready to compete at the highest level right now,” Dimitrov told Tennis Majors.
“The movement is getting better, everything else is kind of going in the right direction but it’s still not easy to recover.
“In a way I’m lucky to be on the court right now. One day I feel really well and I have four hours to be out but then all of a sudden I need to completely shut down and take a nap, or just rest.”
Dimitrov was the first high-profile tennis player to contract the virus, while playing in the ill-fated Adria Tour.
The Bulgarian cut short his stint in the second leg of the exhibition event, played in Zadar, Croatia, as he wasn’t feeling well. On his arrival in Monaco, where he resides, Dimitrov tested positive for Covid-19.
“The virus was hard on me so I stayed home for about a month,” said the 29-year-old.
“I was not breathing well, was not feeling well. (I was) tired, you know, all the symptoms, had no taste, no smell. Everything you could possibly think of, so it was no fun.”
Dimitrov, ranked No 19 in the world, also opened up about the emotional struggles during the quarantine period.
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Hi Everyone-I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for Covid-19. I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions. I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering. Thanks for your support and please stay safe and healthy. GD
“Of course (there are mental struggles). I mean, you’re alone 20 days for about 24 hours … so of course a lot of things are going through your head,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how mentally strong you are, I think as a person, an athlete or anything, it’s inevitable to get some bad thoughts in your head so I had to deal with that too.
“This thing is real. If we take the right precautions and everybody is safe, things will get better quicker. But it’s a strange time so you have to work not only on your physical but on your mental aspect as well.”
The Adria Tour had come under fire for not following any social distancing or health protocols. Eventually four players, including World No 1 Novak Djokovic who organized the event, and Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic tested positive for the virus.
All the players have reportedly recovered from the viral infection.
Even as tennis has laid out a roadmap for resumption, the logistical and practical challenges posed by the Covid-19 situation are many and ever-changing.