World number 19, Grigor Dimitrov, announced on Sunday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.
The player was involved in an exhibition game, the Adria Tour, hosted by Novak Djokovic. This led to the cancellation of the tournament, which was already in the final stage. The final would have been a match between Djokovic and Andrey Rublev.
The tournament, which began since last week, first held in Serbia and Dimitrov played in all the matches. There, he came in contact with over 10 people. The Serbian games were heavily criticised because they featured little to no social distancing as players were seen hugging at the net after each match.
Fans in their thousands were also on ground at the venues in Serbia and Croatia. This was partly due to the government’s lifting of most restrictions in the state. A similar situation took place in Serbia. Dimitrov even enjoyed basketball with some of the players present.
Dimitrov lost to Borna Coric on Saturday before pulling out of the event due to sickness. He then went for a test after arriving home in Monaco and the results came back on Sunday as positive. He took to his instagram page to make the announcement.
He wrote, “Hi everyone-“I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for Covid-19. 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.”
Event director, who is also Djokovic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic was the first to tell fans that the event was cancelled. A statement from the organisers read, “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.
However, we are in close contact with health authorities in order to insure that all people who were in contact with Grigor will be tested tonight. Since we do not want to risk, we decided to cancel the final match.”
No doubt, the lack of social distancing and flouting of health protocols advised for similar gathering contributed to Dimitrov’s faith. But it sends a warning to other sports thinking of carrying on with activities as usual that the time is not yet right.
The US Open could learn from this and strengthen their decision to still put in place some of their safety measures as they have decided to still carry on with the tournament.
Written by: Leon Osamor