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Tennis News • To The Surprise Of No One, Djokovic Is Latest Adria Tour Covid Casualty

By Ricky Dimon

A couple of months–or perhaps even just a week ago–news of Novak Djokovic being diagnosed with the coronavirus would have been alarming, maybe even shocking. On Tuesday, though, it was nothing short of expected.

The Adria Tour in Belgrade, Serbia and Zadar, Croatia featured thousands of fans and very little–if any–social distancing. In the aftermath of what was already perceived as a reckless endeavor, Grigor Dimitrov was the first participant to test positive. That happened on Sunday, and both Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki were not not far behind. Troicki’s wife has it, as well.

Djokovic returned to Serbia without getting tested. He was tested on Monday night and the results came back on Tuesday afternoon. To the surprise of no one, the world No. 1 did in fact test positive–as did his wife, Jelena. He confirmed the results on his social media channels.

“It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds toward people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this,” Djokovic stated, referencing the Adria Tour. “We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.

Photo by @djokernole via Instagram

“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. 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.”

The final of the Zadar leg was called off on Sunday. There were supposed to be two more stops on the Adria Tour, but those have been cancelled.

Those cancellations, of course, are too little too late. The damage has been done. No one is happy, and no one is surprised.

“In hindsight, it’s not something that should have gone ahead,” Andy Murray commented. “It’s not surprising how many people have tested positive after seeing some of the images of the players’ party and the kids’ day. There was no social distancing in place.

“Some people have said maybe this has put the U.S. Open in doubt– which it may well do. but the measures and the protocols they have in place at the USTA are different to Serbia and Croatia; no fans for a start…. I don’t think it has been a great look for tennis. The only positive is that, until it is safe to do so, we have no fans at the event to reduce the risk as much as possible.”

“I just think it is poor example to set,” added Dan Evans, who is playing along with Murray in this week’s Battle of the Brits.

That event, duh, is without fans. And hopefully without corona.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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