Grigor Dimitrov says he is “sorry for any harm I might have caused” after revealing he has tested positive for coronavirus.
The Bulgarian announced his positive test on Instagram just moments before world No 1 Novak Djokovic was due to face Andrey Rublev in the final of the Adria Tour exhibition series in Croatia, leading to the swift cancellation of the event in Zadar as the crowd awaited their arrival.
“I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for Covid-19,” Dimitrov wrote on Instagram. “I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions.
“I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering. Thanks for your support and please stay safe and healthy.”
Numerous top tennis players have flown out to the Balkans for the tour organised by Djokovic in lieu of the cancelled ATP and WTA sanctioned events. The opening leg in Belgrade last week had already received criticism after being held in front of hulking crowds in accordance with Serbia’s relaxed restrictions. Throughout the weekend, Djokovic, Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and other players were pictured hugging, shaking hands and dancing together at a club.
Djokovic addressed the disapproval to the Eurosport Tennis Legends podcast. “I know there have been some criticisms as well especially coming from the West: ‘why do we have a crowd? Why not having social distancing?” he said.
“But it’s hard to explain to people that the situation is really, really different maybe in America or the UK than it is in Serbia or surrounding countries, and obviously from the day one of the organisation of the Adria Tour, [we have been] following the rules and the measures that have been regulated by the government institution and the public health institution.”
Over the weekend in Zadar, Dimitrov took part in activities that placed him in close proximity with his colleagues and fans, such as a basketball game and a media event amid large crowds in the centre of Zadar. On Saturday afternoon, he looked severely off the pace during his emphatic 4-1, 4-1 loss to Borna Coric.
“At all times we have strictly followed the epidemiological measures in place with the countries where the Adria Tour was organised. None of the people involved in the organisation and who have been in contact with Grigor have any symptoms,” read a statement from the Adria Tour.
The news comes days after the US Open confirmed its spot on the 2020 calendar with around 300 players due to travel to New York. US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster described their cooperation as a “leap of faith”, stressing the importance of sound decision making from players to avoid contracting the virus.
However, numerous top players have already shown some disregard for the pandemic by traveling fairly frequently over the past few months. Dimitrov spent the initial quarantine period in the United States and has since passed through Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Monaco. Meanwhile, Thiem travelled back to Vienna, Austria before flying to France for the Ultimate Tennis Showdown and he is slated to compete in Berlin and then Kitzbuhel, Austria again.