Novak Djokovic, the No. 1-ranked tennis player in the world, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The news comes after the tennis star organized and participated in an exhibition tournament in Serbia and Croatia.
“The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested. My result is positive, just as Jelena’s, while the results of our children are negative,” Djokovic said in a statement, via ESPN.com. “Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”
Djokovic’s wife has also tested positive.
Additionally, three other players who participated in the event — Viktor Troicki, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric — returned positive results for COVID-19.
“We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met,” Djokovic added. “Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with. I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were.
“I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine. I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days.”
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 117,000 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.