Tennis Star Has COVID, Takes Heat for 'Horror Show'

Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena both have virus after controversial tennis exhibition in Balkans
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2020 9:04 AM CDT
World's No. 1 Male Tennis Player Has COVID
In this Sept. 23, 2016, file photo, Serbia's Novak Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, pose for the media in Milan, Italy.   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

A tennis exhibition series in the Balkans that got flak for taking place during the pandemic made even more headlines after three players—Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, and Viktor Troicki—and two staff members contracted COVID-19. Now, a bigger name joins that group. Per the Telegraph and CNN, the world's No. 1 men's tennis player, Novak Djokovic, confirmed Tuesday in a statement he has the virus, as does his wife, Jelena. Djokovic said their children haven't tested positive. The couple had been present for much of the Adria Tour in Serbia and Croatia, a four-tier charity event that kicked off in Belgrade on June 13. The New York Times notes the tournament was criticized right from the start, as it brought in players from other countries, while images from the event showed a lack of social distancing.

"I sum it up as a horror show," ATP Player Council member Bruno Soares says. "Enormous irresponsibility and huge immaturity." In an Instagram post, Dimitrov offered his apologies for the role he'd played by participating, noting, "I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused." Djokovic defends getting the series up and running. "Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions," he said in his statement, per ESPN. "Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region." The tennis star says he'll self-isolate for 14 days and get another test in five days. It's not clear if the Adria Tour will head to its next stop this week in Montenegro. (More Novak Djokovic stories.)

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