Croatia’s Borna Coric became the second player from Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour exhibition tournament to test positive for COVID-19, raising serious concerns for tennis governing bodies in their bid to restart the sport after a lengthy shutdown.
The professional circuit was halted in early March as nations closed
borders and imposed lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus.
Last week the men’s ATP and the WTA, which runs women’s events,
issued revised calendars for the resumption of the circuit from August
while organisers of the U.S. Open said the Grand Slam will be staged
without fans as scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in New York.
Those plans, however, could need to be redrawn with Coric’s positive
test following that of Grigor Dimitrov, who said on Sunday he had
contracted the novel coronavirus, highlighting the risks of athletes
from different countries mixing without adhering to social distancing
The ATP and the WTA did not respond to request for comments. Organisers of the Adria Tour could not be reached for comment.
Bulgarian Dimitrov flew in to play in Djokovic’s event in Belgrade
and the second leg in the Croatian coastal resort of Zadar as did other
top names like Dominic Thiem of Austria and Germany’s Alexander Zverev.
Organisers of other sports looking to resume from the coronavirus
shutdown will be watching developments with some trepidation as they try
to find the safest way of getting competition back under way.
Coric, ranked No.33 in the world, revealed on Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
“I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during
the last few days get tested,” the 23-year-old said. “I am really sorry
for any harm I might have caused. I’m feeling well and don’t have any
The tournament witnessed packed stands during the opening leg in
Belgrade, players hugging at the net, playing basketball, posing for
pictures and attending press conferences together.
Djokovic organised nights out in Belgrade for the players and himself
and pictures and videos of him dancing with the other participants at
his event were posted on social media.