The beleaguered world No 1, Novak Djokovic, has tested positive for coronavirus, along with his wife, Jelena, throwing tennis into turmoil as the sport’s official tour prepares to resume after a four-month lockdown.
They join three other leading players and two trainers infected by the disease towards the end of the Serb’s unsanctioned Adria Tour, which was aborted moments before the final in Croatia on Sunday.
Djokovic, who will go into quarantine for 14 days, said this was “the new reality”, although he had organised his tour “with a philanthropic idea” and said he was sorry for the other people who tested positive.
Djokovic declined to be tested on site and with his family flew directly to his home city, Belgrade, where he sought medical advice and was tested. He received the results on Monday evening and issued a statement yesterday.
Djokovic expressed regret and sympathy but little contrition in a prepared statement. He was clearly upset that his close friend, Viktor Troicki, and the Serb’s pregnant wife, along with Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric – who played each other on Saturday – as well as Dimitrov’s coach and his own fitness trainer had also tested positive.
There are now genuine concerns that the rescheduled major tournaments – in New York in August and at Roland Garros at the end of September – could be postponed or even cancelled; many players, especially from Europe, South America and Asia, will be reluctant to risk their health travelling into suspect environments after these disturbing developments.