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World No. 1 tennis star Novak Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19 following controversial tournament

Novak Djokovic (Carine06/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked men’s tennis player, says he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Djokovic said in a statement on June 23 that was distributed through local media that his wife had also tested positive, while his children tested negative.

“We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus had weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met,” he said in the statement.

“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region,” he added.

The announcement comes after Croatia’s Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, and Serbia’s Viktor Troicki tested positive after playing in Djokovic’s Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkan region last week.

Troicki said late on June 22 that both he and his pregnant wife were infected.

Djokovic’s fitness trainer and Dimitrov’s coach, Italian Marko Paniki and German Christian Groh respectively, also tested positive.

All were at the so-called Adria Tour, which Djokovic initiated. The final, scheduled for June 21, was called off after Dmitrov’s positive test.

Djokovic came under fire for organizing the tournament with few health precautions and publicly partying after the Belgrade round of the event, even as the tennis world remains in lockdown.

However, they did not break any local laws in either Serbia or Croatia, as those countries had relaxed restrictions implemented because of the pandemic.