Novak Djokovic revealed on Tuesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, and the world’s top tennis player is now defending his decision to host a charity tournament in Serbia and Croatia.
Djokovic was criticized for organizing the exhibition series, which was canceled over the weekend after tennis players Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki tested positive for the coronavirus. In a statement issued via his website Tuesday, Djokovic said he and his wife Jelena have also tested positive. Djokovic has not experienced any symptoms related to COVID-19.
“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,” the statement read.
“The Tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from South-Eastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the COVID-19 situation.
“It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this.
“We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.
“Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.”
Other tennis stars had questioned the decision to host the tournament, with Nick Kyrgios calling it a “boneheaded decision” after Coric tested positive.
Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the ‘exhibition’ speedy recovery fellas, but that’s what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE. https://t.co/SUdxfijkbK
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 22, 2020
Djokovic added in his statement that he is “extremely sorry for each individual case of infection.”
A number of prominent sports figures have tested positive for COVID-19 over the last several months, but none experienced serious complications.