Novak Djokovic's parents hit back at critics after Serbian star tests positive for COVID-19, blame Grigor Dimitrov for spread

Novak Djokovic’s parents defended their son on Wednesday and blamed another tennis player for spreading the coronavirus at a series of exhibition matches hosted by the top-ranked player.

The Associated Press June 24, 2020 19:57:20 IST
Novak Djokovic's parents hit back at critics after Serbian star tests positive for COVID-19, blame Grigor Dimitrov for spread

Belgrade: Novak Djokovic’s parents defended their son on Wednesday and blamed another tennis player for spreading the coronavirus at a series of exhibition matches hosted by the top-ranked player.

Djokovic and his wife tested positive for the virus on Tuesday. The 17-time Grand Slam champion then apologised online for organising the Adria Tour events, which brought together professional players from various countries to play matches in Serbia and Croatia.

Novak Djokovics parents hit back at critics after Serbian star tests positive for COVID19 blame Grigor Dimitrov for spread

Representational photo. AP

Thousands of spectators attended the matches and no social distancing was observed.

Djokovic’s outspoken father blamed the cancellation of the tour on Grigor Dimitrov, one of the three other players to test positive in the last few days. There is no evidence to suggest Dimitrov spread the virus to others.

“Why did it happen? Because that man probably came sick, who knows from where,” Srdjan Djokovic told RTL Croatia TV. “He didn’t test here, he tested somewhere else ... I think that’s not fair.

“He inflicted damage to both Croatia and to us as a family in Serbia,” Srdjan Djokovic said. “Nobody is feeling well because of this situation.”

Dimitrov, a three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist from Bulgaria, was the first Adria Tour participant to test positive for the virus. He was followed by Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki.

The infections raised questions about the full-fledged return of competitive tennis, including the scheduled US Open in August.

“We were wrong and it was too soon,” wrote Djokovic, who has previously said he was against taking a vaccine for the virus even if it became mandatory to travel.

Dimitrov played in matches in both Belgrade and at the Croatian Adriatic resort of Zadar. He reportedly arrived in Serbia from the United States and his native Bulgaria. He did not immediately respond to The Associated Press' request for comment while recovering from the infection in Monaco.

NBA player Nikola Jokic, a Serb who plays for the Denver Nuggets, has also tested positive for the coronavirus . He was pictured shaking hands with Djokovic at an exhibition basketball event in Belgrade this month.

Jokic is reportedly recovering in his hometown of Sombor.

Djokovic’s mother said both her son and his wife Jelena are feeling fine, but are suffering because of the widespread criticism.

“It is horrible what is being written, but we are used to it,” Dijana Djokovic told the Belgrade Blic daily newspaper.

The coronavirus outbreak led to the suspension of the ATP and WTA professional tennis tours in March. Plans were announced last week for the sport’s sanctioned events to return in August.

The US Open is scheduled to begin 31 August without spectators.

Updated Date:

also read

US Open 2021: Russia president Vladimir Putin hails Daniil Medvedev's ‘brilliant victory’
Sports

US Open 2021: Russia president Vladimir Putin hails Daniil Medvedev's ‘brilliant victory’

By beating Djokovic in Sunday's final, Medvedev became the first Russian to win a major title since Maria Sharapova in 2014, and the first Russian man since Marat Safin in 2005.

US Open 2021: Alexander Zverev to test Novak Djokovic's calendar-year Grand Slam bid in semi-finals
Sports

US Open 2021: Alexander Zverev to test Novak Djokovic's calendar-year Grand Slam bid in semi-finals

Djokovic seeks his 21st career Slam trophy, which would give him the men's record total he currently shares with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

NBA goes ahead with plan to test unvaccinated players often
Sports

NBA goes ahead with plan to test unvaccinated players often

The National Basketball Players Association has not mandated to players that they be vaccinated, despite the NBA's hope that would be the case.