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Novak Djokovic, the most high-profile athlete to test positive for COVID-19, describes what happened

Novak Djokovic coronavirus positive
Photo via Yann Caradec/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 tennis player in the world, said that he’s tested positive for the coronavirus after organizing a pair of recent tournaments in Serbia and Croatia. Djokovic has been outspoken about vaccines and about his desire not to get one for COVID-19 if and when one emerges, but on June 23, he revealed that the tests he and his wife took came back positive.

As the Associated Press wrote, “There were no social distancing measures observed at the matches in either country and Djokovic and other players were seen hugging each other and partying in night clubs and restaurants after the matches.” The New York Post referred to it as “reckless partying.”

One of his recent opponents, Borna Coric, also has tested positive.

“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” Djokovic said in a statement. “Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”

The U.S. Open is scheduled to be played in New York in August and September without any fans in attendance, and Djokovic has previously complained that new protocols will only allow him to have one member of his camp at the tournament with him. At the time Djokovic said it would be “impossible” for him to compete under such conditions.

Now, Djokovic will spend the next two weeks in isolation. Djokovic apologized to those he affected, but he also said the tournaments were supposed to be charitable.

“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 said. “We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting 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.”

Other athletes to catch the coronavirus includes Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller, Brooklyn Nets standout Kevin Durant, 40 Major League baseball players and staff, and dozens of college football players.

Sources: Associated Press, New York Post, ESPN


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