Novak Djokovic criticized, relents on COVID-19 test after players at his tournament test positive

Novak Djokovic has undergone COVID-19 testing after a Croatian charity tennis tournament he organized resulted in three positive cases, drawing backlash from the tennis world.

Djokovic, a vaccine skeptic, initially declined testing in Croatia after the tournament was canceled on Sunday before his media team announced Monday that he would undergo testing upon flying home to Serbia.

Djokovic organized the Adria Tour tournament in Zadar, Croatia, that saw its Sunday finale canceled after world No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 33 Borna Coric and ATP pro Viktor Troicki all announced that they tested positive after participating in the event. Troicki told Serbia’s Telegraf website that his wife also tested positive.

Dimitrov: ‘Get tested’

Dimitrov announced his positive test on Instagram Sunday and urged “anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days” to get tested. Tournament organizers also advised people who had been in contact with Dimitrov to get tested. Many of the tournament’s participants reportedly underwent immediate testing.

Djokovic declined testing in Croatia

Tournament organizers announced that Djokovic would not undergo testing in Croatia because he “did not feel any symptoms.”

“Novak did not feel any symptoms or anyone from his environment, including the professional staff, so he did not go for testing now,” the statement reads. “After arriving home in Belgrade, he will contact the epidemiologist, and he will continue the procedure to his doctor according to the recommendations of the medical service.”

Djokovic was seen playing basketball with Dimitrov on Thursday alongside other players participating in the Adria Tour.

Grigor Dimitrov, rear, plays basketball with Novak Djokovic last Thursday in Croatia. (AP Photo/Zvonko Kucelin)
Grigor Dimitrov, rear, plays basketball with Novak Djokovic last Thursday in Croatia. (AP Photo/Zvonko Kucelin)

Djokovic’s fitness coach tests positive

His team said on Monday after arriving home that he would undergo testing.

“He is fine, he has no symptoms but nonetheless, he needs to do the test and then we will see what’s going on,” a statement from Djokovic’s team read.

Djokovic’s agent confirmed to CNN that he had undergone testing and was awaiting results and that his fitness coach Marco Panichi had tested positive while showing no symptoms.

Djokovic said in April that he “is opposed to vaccination” and has criticized the “extreme” and “impossible” coronavirus safety measures planned for the US Open in the fall.

The tournament that also welcomed fans to the stands drew sharp criticism from some in the tennis world.

Critical response

Nick Kyrgios slammed the event as “boneheaded” in response to Coric’s revelation of his positive test.

Eighteen-time Grand Slam title winner Chris Evert questioned the tournament’s lack of social distancing.

Social distancing ignored

Reuters reports that the stands at the event were packed and that players regularly hugged at the net, posed for photos and went out for nights on the town organized by Djokovic. Djokovic put together the tour in response to the regular tennis schedule being altered because of the global pandemic.

ATP wished those who tested positive a speedy recovery and urged “strict adherence to responsible social distancing.”

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