Tennis star Novak Djokovic has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The diagnosis comes after the athlete has faced much criticism over his anti-vaccination views and his decision to hold an exhibition tournament that did not adhere to social distancing guidelines.
According to Axios, since receiving the positive diagnosis, Djokovic has apologized for hosting the exhibition tournament, named the Adria Tour. The event was held in the Baltic nations of Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia.
“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament was meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region,” Djokovic stated. “I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation.”
Though critics argued that it would have been relatively easy for tennis to continue playing with social distancing guidelines compared to other sports, event organizers decided against implementing protective measures, allowing the athletes not only to mingle with one another but also to party together on nights out.
Standards for fans were similarly lax, and the event featured both large crowds and the athletes in close contact with spectators.
At the time, Bruno Soares, a member of the ATP Player Council, called the tournament “a horror show.”
“They were totally careless, and it’s difficult for me to find the words,” Soares continued, adding that those behind the tournament displayed “enormous irresponsibility and huge immaturity.”
Djokovic is not the only player who has recently tested positive. A number of other athletes infected also attended the exhibition tournament, including Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki, and both Dimitrov’s coach and Djokovic’s fitness coach.
Critics of the Grand Slam winner have also pointed to the tennis star’s anti-vaccine views, which he publicly expressed just nine weeks ago.
“I am opposed to vaccination, and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine,” he said when discussing a possible COVID-19 vaccine, per a previous report by The Inquisitr.
In addition, Djokovic’s wife shared a conspiracy theory that linked the coronavirus to 5G networks on her social media account.
Many professional sporting events have enacted changes in order to protect the health and safety of both players and spectators. For example, the U.S. Open has decided to host the New York-based tournament without fans, even though the event takes place in the fall. Motorsports organization NASCAR has similarly decided to continue races without fans in the stands.