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Novak Djokovic, wife have virus after his distance-free exhibitions

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BELGRADE, Serbia – Top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic announced Tuesday he and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus after he played in a series of exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia with zero social distancing amid the pandemic.

Novak Djokovic Is “Sad and Empty” Following US Open Disqualification

Raising questions about the full-fledged return of tennis, including the U.S. Open planned for August, Djokovic is the fourth player to come down with COVID-19 after participating in matches held in Belgrade and Zadar, Croatia.

Novak-Djokovic-hushing-the-crowd-from

The others were three-time Grand Slam semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki.

“We believed the tournament met all health protocols and the health of our region seemed in good condition to finally unite people for philanthropic reasons,” Djokovic said in a posting on social media Tuesday. “We were wrong and it was too soon.”

Novak Djokovic
The rest of his Adria Tour, which was supposed to head to Bosnia next, was called off.

“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,” Djokovic said in a statement released earlier.

“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, who stands third in the history of men’s tennis with 17 Grand Slam singles titles, has been in the news frequently in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak, which 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.

In April, the player who has won five of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments and is 18-0 this year was criticized for saying he would not want to take a vaccine for the virus in order to be able to compete, even if it were mandatory for travel.

In May, when he was staying in Spain, Djokovic broke local lockdown rules by practicing at a tennis club about a week before it was allowed.

More recently, he complained about the U.S. Tennis Association’s plans to try to protect people from the virus during the U.S. Open with such measures as limiting the size of players’ entourages, going so far as to say he didn’t know whether he would go to the tournament in New York.

The U.S. Open is scheduled to begin Aug. 31, without spectators, and the French Open – postponed from May – is supposed to start Sept. 27.

“This situation is exactly why we have created a comprehensive health and medical plan with the input of our Medical Advisory Group, as well as other experts, that was approved by New York State,” the USTA said in a statement Tuesday that wished the ill players well.

“The creation of a controlled U.S. Open environment, including official hotels, transportation, food, medical and safety protocols, enables us to mitigate potential risk, and appropriately respond to any issues.”

Djokovic found himself defending the lax arrangements of his exhibitions, which were meant to raise money to help those affected by the pandemic. The stands were packed, and players casually interacted with fans and each other off the court.

Djokovic and other players were seen hugging each other and partying in night clubs and restaurants.

After Dimitrov said he tested positive over the weekend, the final of the competition in Croatia – in which Djokovic was supposed to play – was cancelled.

Djokovic, who is not showing symptoms of COVID-19, said he will remain in self-isolation for 14 days.

“It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this,” Djokovic said. “We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.”

Both countries eased their lockdowns ahead of elections held in Serbia last Sunday and scheduled for July 5 in Croatia, and much of the Balkans is experiencing a spike in new COVID-19 cases since the strictest measures were lifted.

Opposition in Croatia has questioned whether the vote in Croatia should go ahead and whether Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and his government should self-isolate after he briefly met with Djokovic in Zadar.

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Roddick: “Who is the GOAT between Federer, Nadal and Djokovic?…

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Rafael, Novak and Roger

The Big 3 were arguably the best players of their era alongside Andy Murray. Roger Federer has not won a Slam since January 2018, but still holds the record of 20 majors conquered, while Rafael Nadal took only one length away thanks to the victories at the Roland Garros and the US Open last year.

 

 

Before the suspension for the Coronavirus emergency, Novak Djokovic won his 17th Slam by recovering Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open final. For his 17th Grand Slam win he received 2.5 Million Euro as prize money. The World number 1 won the title at Dubai Tennis Championships fifth time, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

In a recent interview, former World number 1 Andy Roddick said it is too premature to decide the ongoing ‘Greatest of all time’ debate. “There seems to be this need to discuss the greatest of all time on the men’s side and frankly at this point, I think it’s kind of dumb,” he said on Tennis Channel.

“It’s like handing out Oscars before you watch the ending of a movie. It just doesn’t make much sense and if you say one person, the other two people feel disrespected. It is just too early and before it all plays out someone will say: ‘who do you think will finish with the all-time lead?’ And I’m either guessing or obviously I’m like a medical professional and can predict injuries from here on out.

I just think we’re lucky to still have Novak, Roger and Rafa still in the game. Hopefully, Murray gets back into it. It is premature and I know everyone likes to go to this conversation non-stop but I just think it is too early. And there is too much wasted breath on it at this point.”

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Naomi Osaka: ‘I do not say hi to Serena Williams’

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In an interview to CBS, Naomi Osaka commented on her relationship with Serena Williams sharing an interesting insight. The Japanese player, who defeated the American in last year’s controversial US Open final, said: “I have this huge respect for her.

 

 

It’s someone that I’ve, you know, looked up to my entire life. So I still feel a bit shocked whenever she reaches out. And, I don’t know. I don’t say hi to her or anything because … I get so nervous. She always seems like she’s doing something important, so I don’t want to interrupt.

And then — I really want to talk to her about life and stuff and, like, how she manages to do things on and off the court. But … I don’t wanna be disrespectful to her and, like, try to talk to her like she’s my mentor while she’s still playing.

So I’m kinda just chillin’ on that.” Osaka does not want to be compared to the 37-year-old legend: “I would have to win 20-something more Grand Slams to be her peer. She has so many lists of accomplishments.

So no way. II’ve just been very grateful that I’m even playing. I’ve been trying to, like, take every day as a new experience and learn from everything.”

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Roger Federer reveals awkward moment with wife Mirka at spa

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What is the most unusual situation and most obscure place out of nowhere where someone has come up to Roger Federer and recognized him when he was on holiday or hiking? The Swiss recalled a funny anecdote. ‘I remember this one time when I went on a vacation on the Maldives.

 

 

That was in the year 2001, I think. I went to this spa. I went to walk around with Mirka’, Federer said. ‘I walk in, and we want to book a spa. This guy goes, “AHH, I remember you. You beat Sampras. I saw you on TV.” That was like, really, how can you remember me? This guy has probably never been off his island and still knows me.

I was a little bit shocked. Then I went to play tennis with him because he was actually the tennis teacher. It was nice.’ Were they naked at the time in the spa? ‘No. It was at the front desk. I didn’t walk in naked.’ Federer also recalled how it felt to spend time in Switzerland when he started having success in tennis and becoming more popular: ‘I had to almost mentally prepare now when I walk out of the house in Basel.

But I’m used to it. I think the people in Basel, in general in Switzerland, they’re okay. They respect my private life. Some of them come up to me like they’re my best friends. Some of them just come up with a lot of respect.

It depends. It’s actually funny to see all the different reactions.

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