International tennis champion Novak Djokovic has tested positive for coronavirus after organizing and taking part in an exhibition event in Serbia and Croatia.
On Tuesday, June 23, the 33-year-old athlete confirmed that both he and his wife, Jelena, showed positive test results, while their children, 5-year-old Stefan and 2-year-old Tara, tested negative. “The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested,” he wrote in a statement on his website, noting that he has not shown any symptoms since contracting the novel virus.
“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 professional tennis player continued. “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.”
Djokovic is one of several athletes to test positive for COVID-19 since the tennis tour, which garnered widespread criticism, kicked off earlier this month. When another tennis player announced his positive test results over the weekend, Australian athlete Nicholas Kyrgios slammed “boneheaded” Djokovic for moving forward with the event amid a global health crisis and apparently disregarded social distancing guidelines.
After breaking the news that he contracted the novel disease, the Serbia native explained that he would be self-isolating for the next two weeks and would receive another test in five days. He later apologized to all of the other tournament participants who tested positive for COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with,” he wrote. “I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine.”
Earlier this year, Djokovic came under fire for claiming he was “opposed to vaccination” as coronavirus cases continued to spread across the globe, and that he wouldn’t want to be “forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel” when the tennis season resumed.
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