A few hours after he tested positive for Covid-19, Novak Djokovic apologized for rushing the Adria Tour that resulted in four of its players contracting the virus.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) June 23, 2020
“I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm,” the World No 1 said in a statement.
“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.
“If you attended Adria Tour or were around any attendees please get tested and practice social distancing,” the Serb added. “For those in Belgrade and Zadar, we will be sharing health resources in the immediate future.”
The Adria Tour was designed as a charity exhibition event, by the Novak Djokovic Foundation, to be played across four cities in the Balkans. Top players like Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric participated in it.
While it was the first time since March, when the tennis world went into lockdown, that such a star cast had assembled on the tennis court the tournament flouted social distancing and health protocols blatantly. After two weekends of bonhomie, reality set in on Sunday when former World No 3 Dimitrov tested positive for Coronavirus.
Djokovic’s father Srdjan, meanwhile, has blamed Dimitrov for playing the spoilsport.
“Why did it happen? Because that man (Dimitrov) probably came sick, who knows from where. He didn’t test here, he tested somewhere else … I think that’s not fair,” Srdjan Djokovic said in an interview with RTL Croatia TV.
“(Dimitrov) inflicted damage to both Croatia and to us as a family in Serbia. Nobody is feeling well because of this situation,” he added.
Interestingly, the Djokovic family refused to get tested in Zadar, which hosted the second leg of the Adria Tour.
Instead, they decided to fly back to Belgrade before finally getting tested.
Apart from his peers in the tennis circuit, Djokovic had also interacted with Serbian basketballers Nikola Jokic (who plays for the Denver Nuggets in the NBA and is expected to rejoin the team by July), Nikola Jankovic (Partizan Belgrade, in the Serbian league), and also Serbian actor Milos Bikovic.
They also tested positive for COVID-19.