Over the course of Novak Djokovic’s career, his parents, Srdjan and Dijana, have raised a different kind of racket to the one their son wields on court. Whether it be to defend their eldest child or show pride in his achievements, the couple have combined to be two of the more vocal family members on the ATP tour.
On Tuesday, Djokovic announced he and his wife Jelena had tested positive for COVID-19, after social distancing measures were not employed during the first two stops of the Adria Tour. The news followed a string of positive tests, which began with Grigor Dimitrov announcing his result on Sunday. Dimitrov participated in both Belgrade and Zadar, before withdrawing after his first match in Croatia and returning to Monaco for examination.
Speaking with RTL in Croatia, Srdjan Djokovic blamed Dimitrov for causing the walls to come crashing down on the exhibition event.
“Why did it happen? Because that man probably came sick, who knows from where. He didn’t test here, he tested somewhere else ... I think that’s not fair.”
It’s an interesting statement, as the Djokovic family also chose not to get tested in Zadar, unlike other participants that included Borna Coric (who tested positive), Donna Vekic (who tested negative) and Alexander Zverev (who tested negative). The Djokovics instead opted to return home Sunday before having their tests done in Serbia the following day.
“[Grigor] inflicted damage to both Croatia and to us as a family in Serbia,” Srdjan Djokovic said. “Nobody is feeling well because of this situation.”
A number of people outside of the tennis cohort who attended organized functions with Adria Tour players have tested positive. On June 11, NBA player Nikola Jokic, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, met with Djokovic at a basketball event in Belgrade. Three days later, Serbian actor Milos Bikovic was seen with the 17-time major champion at a local nightclub. Both Jokic and Bikovic have since announced they have contracted the virus. Djokovic also spent time with another basketball player, Nikola Jankovic, whose positive test came out on June 15.
The world No. 1 released a statement Tuesday, and followed up on social media, stating, “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. We were wrong and it was too soon. I can't express enough how sorry I am for this and every case of infection.”
Djokovic encouraged those who attended any event organized by the Adria Tour to get tested and practice social distancing.