Novak Djokovic’s Croatia Charity Event Under Scrutiny As Participants Test Positive For Coronavirus

Rohini Chatterji
Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball during an exhibition tournament in Zadar, Croatia, Sunday, June 21, 2020. Tennis player Grigor Dimitrov says he has tested positive for COVID-19 and his announcement led to the cancellation of an exhibition event in Croatia where Novak Djokovic was scheduled to play on Sunday. 

BELGRADE, Serbia — Novak Djokovic’s charity tennis exhibition series, combined with an overall softening of coronavirus restrictions in Serbia and Croatia, has been followed by an increase in the number of positive cases among professional athletes.

Two tennis players ranked among the top 40 in the world and five players at Serbia’s biggest soccer club have tested positive for the virus after being involved in sporting events where fans packed into the stands and social distancing was not enforced.

Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world who previously said he was against taking a vaccine for the virus even if it became mandatory to travel, will now be tested as well, his media team said Monday.

“He is fine, he has no symptoms but nonetheless, he needs to do the test and then we will see what’s going on,” Djokovic’s media team said in a statement.

Djokovic was the face behind the Adria Tour, a series of exhibition events that started in Belgrade and moved to Zadar, Croatia, this weekend.

Grigor Dimitrov, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist from Bulgaria, said Sunday he tested positive for the virus. Borna Coric played Dimitrov on Saturday in Zadar and said Monday he has also tested positive for the virus.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic was among the spectators at the beach resort and will also be tested.

In this photo taken on Thursday June 18, 2020, Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, rear, plays basketball with Serbia's Novak Djokovic in Zadar, Croatia. 

“I am really sorry for any harm I might have caused,” said Coric, who urged anyone who had contact with him to be tested.

That could be a lot of people. Coric, Djokovic and other players, including Marin Cilic, played basketball with a local team last week and posed together for photos.

Djokovic was supposed to play in the series final on Sunday, but that event was canceled.

Djokovic and Dimitrov also played in the Adria Tour’s opening exhibition a week earlier in Belgrade. Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev, who both played in the Serbian capital, said they would self-isolate despite negative tests.

“I deeply apologize to anyone that...

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