The Independent employs reporters around the world to bring you truly independent journalism. To support us, please consider a contribution.
Novak Djokovic is facing criticism for staging last week’s Adria Tour events without social distancing measures after four people tested positive for coronavirus, with Australian Nick Kyrgios labelling it a “boneheaded decision” to play when the pandemic remains ongoing.
Dimitrov was tested for coronavirus in Monaco, but travelled to Croatia to play on the Adria Tour where he took on Borna Coric on Saturday. The Bulgarian did not shake hands with his opponent or the umpire after he was beaten because he was already feeling ill, and it was confirmed on Monday that Coric has also tested positive for coronavirus.
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Two more people have returned positive results in the respective trainers of Dimitrov and Djokovic, according to Croatia’s health institute, which resulted in the Serbian’s match against Andrey Rublev being abandoned on Sunday evening.
But despite his trainer testing positive, Djokovic has returned to Belgrade from Zadar without taking a coronavirus, with a statement from the tournament organisers claiming that he did so because he “did not feel any symptoms”.
Djokovic had planned the charity event in light of all tennis being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the events featuring packed stadiums in Belgrade as well as players hugging at the net, posing for pictures and venturing on nights out together due to Serbia’s and Croatia’s relaxed social distancing measures.
A statement read: “Novak did not feel any symptoms or anyone from his environment, including the professional staff, so he did not go for testing now.
“After arriving home in Belgrade, he will call the epidemiologist, and he will continue the procedure to his doctor according to the recommendations of the medical service.”
World No 19 Dimitrov had been seen playing football and basketball with Djokovic, Coric and Marin Cilic, and was also spotted enjoying nights out with other tennis players during the Adria Tour schedule. Coric tested positive 24 hours after Dimitrov revealed he had contracted the virus.
“Hi everyone, I wanted to inform you all that I tested positive for Covid-19,” Coric wrote on Instagram.
“I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during the last few days gets tested! I am really sorry for any harm I might have caused!
“I’m feeling well and don’t have any simptoms (sic). Please stay safe and healthy! Lots of love to all!”
Zadar’s Adria Tour director Goran Ivanisevic, the former Wimbledon champion, confirmed that Dimitrov’s positive test took place in Monte Carlo a few days before the cancelled schedule, and that no one else had displayed symptoms of coronavirus.
“Grigor Dimitrov was tested in Monaco and tested positive for Covid-19,” Ivanisevic said. “We are very sorry and we tried to respect all the prescribed epidemiological measures. From the moment we learned the information, we are in contact with all health services. None of the people involved in the organisation and who have been in contact with Grigor have symptoms. Despite that, we did not want to put anyone in any danger and the final match was canceled.”
But the incident has increased the criticism being lobbied at Djokovic, who evidently has not been social distancing in recent days and who previously expressed his opposition towards taking a vaccine for Covid-19 should one be needed to compete because of his anti-vaccination beliefs.
Straight-talking world No 40 Kyrgios led the criticism of those players who chose to participate on the Adria Tour as he responded directly to Dimitrov’s statement on Twitter.
“Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the ‘exhibition’,” Kyrgios wrote. “Speedy recovery fellas, but that’s what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE.”
American tennis great Chris Evert added to the criticism, saying “… total physical contact, no face masks, even the fans were without masks.. I don’t get it.”