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Novak Djokovic apologises for the tennis tournament he held against all advice

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Novak Djokovic announced on Tuesday that he and his wife, Jelena, had tested positive for coronavirus. He recently organised a series of exhibition matches in Serbia and Croatia and is the fourth player there to test positive.

“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,” Djokovic said in a statement. “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.”

As the Associated Press noted, Djokovic’s stance on tennis’s handling of the pandemic has been a recurring story since professional tours were suspended in March. In April, for instance, he said he wouldn’t want to take a vaccine to compete. The U.S. Open is planning to begin in August without spectators and with smaller player entourages, and Djokovic has expressed doubts about whether he’d go given the restrictions.

Faced with these potential alterations to the sport, Djokovic launched the Adria Tour, which drew criticism for its lack of social distancing and regulations. One viral video showed Djokovic and other players clubbing. The Croatia tournament’s final was canceled on Sunday after Grigor Dimitrov revealed he’d tested positive; Djokovic initially declined to be tested because he didn’t feel any symptoms, before eventually saying on Monday that he would undergo a test. Some of those decisions have come into renewed focus this week:

The British player Dan Evans said in a press conference on Monday, “I don’t think you should be having a players’ party and dancing all over each other and then two very good players test positive,” referring to Dimitrov and Borna Coric.

The fallout could continue to reverberate in the sport. The Guardian suggested that the rescheduled major tournaments (August’s U.S. Open in New York and September’s French Open in Paris) might now be in jeopardy, and that Djokovic could be pressured to step down as players council president for the Association of Tennis Professionals.

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Novak Djokovic says he regrets his failure to win at the US Open or Roland Garros

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“The US Open disqualification notwithstanding, I have only lost one match all season and I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life”

Novak Djokovic says he regrets the failure to win either the US or French Opens, despite playing some of the best tennis of his life in 2020.

Having won an eighth Australian Open in January, Djokovic was disqualified at the US Open after inadvertently hitting a line judge in the neck with a petulant swipe of the ball during his fourth-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta.

He was then blown away by world No 2 Rafael Nadal in the final of the re-arranged French Open in October.

Djokovic remains on 17 Grand Slam titles while Nadal and Federer are on 20 each after the Spaniard clinched a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title.

“There is a lingering regret that I didn’t win either the US Open or the Roland Garros this year,” Djokovic told reporters at his tennis academy in downtown Belgrade by the Danube river.

“I was in outstanding form at both events but having reached the French Open final, I was beaten by a player who was much better on the day.

“I was below par and that’s it. As far as the US Open is concerned, I got myself into an unfortunate situation and was disqualified, but I won several other big tournaments.

“The US Open disqualification notwithstanding, I have only lost one match all season and I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life.”

Djokovic dismissed suggestions he was under intense pressure to overhaul Nadal and Federer in their three-way race to become the greatest male player of all time.

“Pressure has been a part of my life for a long time and I’ve learned how to deal with it,” he said.

“It comes with the territory if you are a top-level athlete and it can also galvanise you. You take physical and mental knocks along the way but it’s all part of the learning curve.

“If I retired now I’d be happy with everything I have achieved but I still enjoy competing and every tournament I enter gives me so much motivation and joy.”

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