The world's top-ranked men's tennis player, Novak Djokovic, said on Tuesday that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus after participating in an exhibition series he organized in Serbia and Croatia.
Djokovic, who is Serbian, is the fourth player who participated in matches last week in Belgrade, Serbia's capital and largest city, and in Zadar, Croatia, over the weekend to test positive for COVID-19.
Djokovic's wife also tested positive.
“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,” he said in a statement.
The number of cases and death toll from the coronavirus in Croatia and Serbia have been relatively low, with more than 2,000 cases and 107 deaths being recording in Croatia and more than 12,000 cases and 262 deaths in Serbia.
Djokovic was criticized for bringing in other players from around the world for the tournament.
No social distancing measures were observed at the matches in Serbia and Croatia.
“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” Djokovic said. “Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”
Djokovic has made headlines in recent weeks after declaring he would not take a vaccine for COVID-19 if available.
The 17-time Grand Slam tournament champion also criticized New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoHere's who should (and should not) replace Chris Cuomo at CNN The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - New vaccine mandate in NYC; Biden-Putin showdown Batya Ungar-Sargon discusses Cuomo brothers' delayed downfall MORE (D) after an announcement that the U.S. Open would go ahead as scheduled in New York City beginning in late August.
“At the moment the measures in force are very severe," the 33-year-old told Serbian TV RTS. "These are pretty extreme conditions and I don’t know if they are sustainable. Most of the players I’ve talked to so far have a rather negative view of the possibility of going."
“Of course we would all like to return to the courts as soon as possible and play tournaments, the ones before the U.S. Open and the U.S. Open and I hope they will take place but there has to be a compromise between the organizers and the players. We’ll see if it will happen," he added.