NOVAK DJOKOVIC has revealed he has tested positive for Covid-19 – the highest-profile sports star to catch the virus.
The world No.1 and reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion has put out a statement after arriving home in Belgrade with his family and team, as wife Jelena, 34, also tested positive.
The Serbian was slammed by Nick Kyrgios and Dan Evans for hosting the Adria Tour and not observing strict social-distancing rules and even dancing topless in a nightclub.
Fellow pros Grigor Dimitrov, Viktor Troicki and Borna Coric have all tested positive for coronavirus after taking part in the Easter European event.
Djokovic said: “The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested.
“My result is positive, just as Jelena’s, while the results of our children are negative.
“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 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.
“We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus had weakened, believing that the conditions for the Tour had been met.
“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.
“I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days and repeat the test in five days.”
Sunday’s Croatian leg was cancelled before the final after it emerged that Dimitrov had tested positive.
Australian Nick Kyrgios said it was a “bone-headed decision to go ahead with the exhibition”.
And British No.1 Dan Evans said it was a “poor example to set”, singling out event organisers and cheerleader Djokovic for criticism.
Evans said: “Even if the guidelines were taken away in this country to normal I’d still be trying to keep myself out of the way as much as I could from other people.
“There has been a total disregard to that. It’s very unfortunate that Grigor and Coric have it. But if you strip it back – is it a surprise?
“I hope there’s no second-guessing now on the US Open because of unfortunate events.
“Put it this way, I don’t think you should be having a players’ party and dancing all over each other – and then two very good tennis players test positive.
“He should feel some responsibility in his event and how it’s transpired.”
British star Andy Murray had previously criticised the tour but insisted it should be “lesson for us all”.
Murray said: “Once you start having mass gatherings with people coming in from all sorts of countries, it’s a recipe for it to kick off.
“So it’s kind of a lesson for all of us – if we weren’t already – to take this extremely seriously, and to have as many safety measures in place as possible.”
MORE TO FOLLOW