Novak Djokovic, the highest-ranked tennis player in the world, said in a statement Tuesday that he tested positive for coronavirus after taking part in a tennis exhibition series in Serbia and Croatia.
The 33-year-old Serb has won 79 singles titles, is currently ranked number one by the Association of Tennis Professionals and is the fourth player to test positive after the Adria Tour exhibition, according to the Associated Press. His wife Jelena also tested positive, but their four children tested negative.
Djokovic had reportedly been criticized for hosting the Adria Tour without any public safety precautions or social distancing measures. Players were seen hugging and partying after matches, The New York Times reported.
The situation worsened after Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric, two of the tour’s main players, tested positive for the coronavirus Monday. Another player, Viktor Troicki, tested positive as well.
Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios said hosting the tour was a “boneheaded decision” in a tweet Monday after the positive tests were announced.
????????♂️????????♂️????????♂️ Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the ‘exhibition’ speedy recovery fellas, but that’s what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE. https://t.co/SUdxfijkbK
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 22, 2020
As other people in attendance tested positive for the coronavirus, officials were forced to call off the final match Sunday between Djokovic and Andrey Rublev, The New York Times reported. The third stage of the event was scheduled to be held next week in Bosnia but has been canceled.
Djokovic previously criticized Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for statewide lockdown measures and delaying the U.S. Open, which is held in New York City, The Hill reported. Other tennis exhibitions, like the Wimbledon, have been canceled altogether. (RELATED: World TeamTennis Will Have Fans At Matches)
In a statement released Tuesday, Djokovic apologized and called the virus a “new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.” He also said he was self-isolating for two weeks and would get tested again later this week.