Top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic tests positive for coronavirus after hosting event

Novak Djokovic has tested positive for coronavirus after several players who participated in his charity tournament were also infected with the virus, the No. 1 ranked men’s tennis player announced Tuesday. Djokovic said months ago that he was opposed to a compulsory coronavirus vaccine as the virus crisis was unfolding. 

In a statement, Djokovic said both he and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19, but their children’s results came out negative. According to the Associated Press, he organized the Adria Tour exhibition event in Serbia and Croatia, where social distancing measures weren’t observed at the matches. His decision to hold the matches drew ire because he brought players from different countries amid the pandemic. 

“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” Djokovic said. “Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”

Adria Tour Tennis
Dominic Thiem of Austria and runner-up Filip Krajinovic of Serbia pose with their trophies after the final match along with Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, Viktor Troicki of Serbia, Grigor Dimitov of Bulgaria, Alexander Zverev of Germany, and Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Adria Tour charity exhibition.  Srdjan Stevanovic / Getty Images

Djokovic said the tournament was done to raise funds for “people in need” and provide competitive tennis for up-and-coming tennis players from Southeastern Europe. 

“We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met,” he said. “Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with. I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were.”

He is the fourth player who competed in the charity event to test positive. Viktor Troicki, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric also tested positive. The Adria Tour finale was canceled on Sunday after Dimitrov announced he had the virus. 

“I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection,” Djokovic said. “I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine.

He said he will be in self-isolation for the next 14 days and repeat the test in five days.

In April, Djokovic said he was against vaccination and doesn’t like the idea of being required to get a coronavirus vaccine in order to return to playing, once a vaccine is developed. “Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” Djokovic said, according to a translation from Reuters. He repeated his statement days later but said he would keep an “open mind” on the subject.