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#pounditMonday, August 3, 2020

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic tests positive for coronavirus, defends organizing charity tournament

Novak Djokovic

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.

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.

LeBron James impressed by Novak Djokovic’s jump shot

LeBron James

LeBron James might be able to get some tips on his shooting mechanics from another sports great.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic tweeted a funny video on Saturday showing off his skills on the basketball court, including some fancy dribble moves and a pretty smooth elbow jumper. Djokovic tagged James in the tweet and jokingly asked if he was ready for a one-on-one.

James replied by giving his stamp of approval and even said that Djokovic’s follow-through was “beautiful.”

For what it’s worth, the 33-year-old Djokovic does stands 6-foot-2. While that is above-average for tennis, it probably means that he would be more Steph Curry than LeBron on the hardwood though, and the jumper backs that up.

One of Djokovic’s biggest rivals did once compare himself to James, but when it comes to actual basketball skills, it looks like game, set, and match Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic says he wanted to quit tennis after bad loss in 2010

Novak Djokovic

One of the most difficult but necessary parts of sports — and life — is bouncing back after a defeat. That is much easier said than done, as Novak Djokovic could tell you.

Djokovic conducted an interview with Sky Sports Italy that was published on Wednesday. In the interview, he talked about some highs and lows in his tennis career. One of the lows came after he blew a two-set lead in the quarterfinals of the French Open and lost to Jurgen Melzer.

“It was a bad moment, I wanted to leave tennis because I saw everything black,” Djokovic said. “It was a transformation, because after that defeat I freed myself. I had won in Australia in 2008, I was number 3 in the world but I wasn’t happy. I knew I could do more, but I lost the most important games against Federer and Nadal. From that moment I took the pressure off, I started playing more aggressively. That was the turning point.”

Djokovic of course stuck with tennis and became the No. 1 player in the world a year after that loss. He is currently the No. 1-ranked player in the world and has won 17 grand slam titles. Earlier this year, he captured the Australian Open for the eighth time in his career.

Rafael Nadal did not like US Open fans booing Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal stood up for fellow top men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic.

Nadal is set to take on Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals of the US Open. He is the only member of the “big three” remaining in the tournament after Djokovic lost in the fourth round to Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer was defeated by Grigor Dimitrov in five sets.

Djokovic’s exit was controversial due to his retirement after being down two sets and trailing in the third set when he decided he could no longer continue. Djokovic received boos from the US Open fans, which did not sit well with Nadal.

“I believe that he’s a super athlete,” Nadal said of Djokovic Monday night. “If he had to go is because he was not able to continue at all. For him is much more painful than for anyone on that Arthur Ashe Stadium. He missed an opportunity to win another Grand Slam.”

Nadal is right; there is no way Djokovic wanted to miss out on a grand slam opportunity. Nole was dealing with a shoulder injury prior to the tournament and was bothered by it in the early rounds of the major. The question some are wondering is why he didn’t make it through four more games to give Wawrinka a clean win. Why did he choose to retire when he did? Nadal’s point seems to be, don’t concern yourself with those issues; if Djokovic could have kept competing, he would have.

Novak Djokovic booed off court after retiring due to shoulder injury

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic was booed off Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open in Flushing, New York on Sunday night for retiring from his match due to injury.

Djokovic has been battling a shoulder injury for the past month or so and has been receiving treatment for it. He even said after his second round match that the shoulder had been affecting him.

The world No. 1 player dropped the first set of his fourth round match with Stan Wawrinka 4-6 and blew a 4-1 lead in the second set to lose 7-5. Down two sets to none in the best-of-five match, Djokovic decided he could no longer continue after falling behind 2-1 in the third. During the side change, Djokovic said he was done and congratulated Wawrinka on the win.

Perhaps upset with Djokovic for quitting early rather than playing out the set, fans booed the Serbian star.

The 16-time major winner was looking to repeat at the US Open this year, but it wasn’t to be. He still was able to win his seventh Australian Open and fifth Wimbledon, so 2019 was positive for Djokovic in terms of majors.

This is the second time recently we’ve seen a star athlete get booed. Do you think he deserved it?

Novak Djokovic acknowledges shoulder injury is affecting him

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic made it through to the third round of the US Open with a straight set 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 victory over Juan Ignacio Londero on Wednesday night in New York, but the win did not come easily.

Djokovic was seen grabbing at his left shoulder multiple times throughout the match and received treatment on it at various points.

He was asked about his shoulder injury during an on-court interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after the match.

“It was definitely affecting my serve and backhand,” Djokovic acknowledged. “I don’t want to talk about it too much. … This is something I’ve been carrying for quite a while now. It wasn’t easy playing with the pain, but you have to find a way to fight and hope you get some lucky shots, you get some opportunities when they’re presented and take them.”

Djokovic acknowledged the match was difficult but did not want to dwell on his shoulder injury.

“It’s not the first time I’m facing this kind of adversity or challenge. It is what it is and I’m just grateful to be on the court,” he said.

Nole joked that he probably would freeze his arm for the next 48 hours so he could recover for his third-round opponent.

The 32-year-old, who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, is looking to win the US Open for the second straight year and fourth time overall.

Watch: Novak Djokovic eats grass after winning Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic grass
Novak Djokovic sampled some of the grass on the court at Wimbledon Sunday where he did some of his finest work ever.

Djokovic prevailed against Roger Federer in the finals of the grand slam with a five-set win, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6 and 13-12. He won each of his three sets in tiebreakers — the fifth stopping at 12-12 for the first time ever due to a rule change.

After he won the marathon match, he decided to eat some of the grass on Centre Court at the All England Club.

That keeps up a tradition that Dokovic had done when he won in 2015 and 2018 as well.

“If not the thrilling and most exciting finals I ever was part of, it’s top two or three,” Djokovic said after the match.

“It was a great match. It was long. It had everything. I had my chances, so did he,” Federer said.

This is Dokovic’s fifth Wimbledon win. He now has 16 career majors, four short of Federer’s 20 and two short of Rafael Nadal’s 18.