Novak Djokovic coronavirus: how the Serbian tennis star and his wife got Covid-19 - and if it’s safe to play tennis

The tour ‘was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need’

(Photo: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic – who previously outed himself to be against a coronavirus vaccine, even if it got in the way of his return to competition – has tested positive for Covid-19.

In a statement on his official website, Djokovic said he and his wife Jelena, who also tested positive, are currently asymptomatic and will self-isolate.

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Djokovic and his wife Jelena both tested positive for Covid-19 (Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

What was the Adria Tour?

In light of the infections, the Adria Tour has now been cancelled, but it was originally planned as a series of competitions held in four different countries in the Balkans over four weekends between 12 June and 5 July.

A charity event, Djokovic said the tour “was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need.”

On 21 June, Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, who had played at the first event in Belgrade and the second in Zadar, made public that he had tested positive for coronavirus when he returned to his home in Monte Carlo.

Crowds were permitted at the events, with little evidence of social distancing being observed (Photo: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

A short time later it became known that Croatian player Borna Ćorić had also been infected with Covid-19; and had also participated at the Zadar event. Two trainers were also announced to have been infected with the virus

On the morning of 23 June it was announced that Serbia’s Viktor Troicki had also tested positive; later that day came Djokovic’s diagnosis.

"We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the tour had been met,” said Djokovic.

"Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with. I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were."

Crowds were present at the events, with limited evidence of social distancing being observed; Djokovic was also filmed dancing in a packed nightclub during the tour.

How did Djokovic get coronavirus?

Djokovic was a participant in the Adria Tour, a series of tennis events he had helped to organise in Serbia and Croatia in June.

The tennis star is fourth player who played as part of the tour to test positive, following Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki.

Djokovic said: "I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone's health situation and that everyone will be fine."

Djokovic travelled home from the tournament in Zadar, Croatia to his home in Serbia before being tested for the virus.

In a statement he said: "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.”

According to Serbian media reports, Djokovic initially refused to carry out his own Covid-19 test.

Why did the Adria Tour go ahead?

The event, which took place in front of crowds with little evidence of social-distancing, was criticised by other players.

Nick Kyrgios called the decision to stage the event "boneheaded" while British number one Dan Evans described it as "a poor example to set".

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

"The tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from southeastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the Covid-19 situation.”

Is it safe to play tennis?

By its very nature, tennis is an activity whereby close person to person contact can be avoided, with the UK Government saying tennis is a good example of an activity that can be undertaken in a way compliant with social distancing restrictions.

Djokovic’s tour, which involved players and fans travelling and little to no social distancing measures, is a different story.