Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked male tennis player, said on Tuesday, June 23 that he and his wife, Jelena, had tested positive for the coronavirus, after days of growing criticism over a tournament he organized after which other players and coaches were also found to be infected, The New York Times reports.
The exhibition tournament, called the Adria Tour, was supposed to bring some of the world’s best players to Balkan nations, including Serbia, where Djokovic is from, and provide some income for the participants and some welcome entertainment to tennis fans who haven’t seen professional games since March.
No one wore face masks and social distancing wasn’t enforced in the stands during the series. Players mingled freely with each other after matches and posed for photographs with ball kids and tournament officials. There was no systematic testing done for the coronavirus on the participants before the event began, according to the organizers. Besides the Djokovics, at least three prominent players — Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki — and two coaches tested positive, prompting fears among the authorities in Croatia and Serbia that the athletes may have triggered a new wave of infections.
In Zadar, a small coastal town in Croatia that had no confirmed infections until it hosted a leg of the competition, the authorities were left scrambling to trace and test people who might have come in contact with Dimitrov, a Bulgarian player who said on Sunday after returning to his home base in Monaco that he had tested positive.