Friday saw plenty of positive COVID-19 tests across sports, and this weekend saw a notable one in tennis. The multiple-country Adria Tour exhibition event, organized by Novak Djokovic and his brother Djordje, cancelled its final in Croatia Sunday (which was supposed to feature Novak Djokovic against Russia’s Andrey Rublev) after world No. 19 player Grigor Dimitrov (who played in the Serbia leg of the event last week and played a match against Borna Coric in Croatia Saturday) tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Dimitrov (seen above at last year’s U.S. Open) announced the news of his positive test on Instagram Sunday:
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Hi Everyone-I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for Covid-19. I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions. I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering. Thanks for your support and please stay safe and healthy. GD
The Associated Press has more on this:
Goran Ivanisevic, one of Djokovic’s coaches, said the news from Dimitrov was “shocking” and that “now everyone will have to be tested.”
…The Bulgarian featured last week in the Serbia leg of the Adria Tour exhibition event organized by Djokovic. There was criticism that there was no social distancing at the exhibition, which took place before packed stands in Belgrade, the Serbian capital. The Serbian government lifted most virus restrictions last month despite dozens of new cases being registered.
…“We are really sorry, we tried our best to respect all measures, and we did respect all measures imposed by the governments of Serbia and Croatia,” said event director Djordje Djokovic, the younger brother of Novak Djokovic.
“From our side, we did all we could but Grigor is unfortunately positive. At this moment we are organizing all medical services to check all people who have been in contact with Grigor, they will all be tested. I already contacted all players of the Adria Tour, and their families, all of the volunteers, all people involved in organization – absolutely none of them have any symptoms.”
This was a Djokovic-organized exhibition rather than an official ATP Tour or WTA event, and those tours aren’t set to resume until August 14 (with the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., followed by a relocated Western and Southern Open in New York City and then the U.S. Open in New York City from August 31 to September 14). But Dimitrov’s positive test could pose further challenges for those planned reopenings; beyond his own status as a top-20 seed, numerous other prominent players competed in these tournaments, including Djokovic (currently ranked No. 1 in men’s singles), Dominic Thiem (No. 3), and Alexander Zverev (No. 7). So if any of them wound up with COVID-19 as well, that could add to the problems for tennis’ attempts to resume play.