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article imageCoric becomes second player at Djokovic event to test positive for coronavirus

By AFP     Jun 22, 2020 in Sports

Borna Coric announced on Monday he has become the second player to test positive for coronavirus after taking part in an exhibition tournament in Croatia featuring world number one Novak Djokovic.

"Hi everyone, I wanted to inform you all that I tested positive for COVID-19," the Croatian, ranked 33rd in the world, posted on Twitter.

It follows Sunday's announcement by Grigor Dimitrov that he had also tested positive after pulling out of the exhibition event, which is one of the biggest since the tennis season was halted because of the pandemic.

Coric tweeted: "I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during the last few days gets tested!

"I am really sorry for any harm I might have caused! I'm feeling well and don't have any simptoms (sic). Please stay safe and healthy! Lots of love to all!"

One of Djokovic's coaches and another member of Dimitrov's entourage have also reportedly tested positive for the virus, according to Croatia's N1 television channel.

Coric had beaten Bulgaria's Dimitrov in the second leg of the Adria Tour in Zadar on Croatia's Adriatic coast on Saturday.

Dimitrov withdrew from the Balkans tournament following that match, complaining of feeling unwell.

Sunday's final between Djokovic and Russia's Andrey Rublev was immediately cancelled as a precaution.

Australian star Nick Kyrgios responded to Coric's tweet by describing the staging of the tournament as "boneheaded".

- 'Not a joke' -

"Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the 'exhibition'," Kyrgios wrote on social media.

"Speedy recovery fellas, but that's what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE."

Novak Djokovic chest-bumping  Filip Krajinovic in the Belgrade leg of Adria exhibition tour
Novak Djokovic chest-bumping Filip Krajinovic in the Belgrade leg of Adria exhibition tour
Andrej ISAKOVIC, AFP

Also playing in the tournament were world number three Dominic Thiem, former US Open winner Marin Cilic, seventh-ranked Alexander Zverev and Filip Krajinovic.

Responding to Dimitrov's positive test on Sunday, Djokovic's brother Djordje, the tournament director, told Sportske Novosti: "Novak? He took this news very hard. We undertook all the measures prescribed by the governments of Serbia and Croatia."

The news of Coric's positive test emerged as Serbian football league champions Red Star Belgrade reported that five of their players had gone down with coronavirus just 12 days after their derby clash with Partizan Belgrade.

The game was watched by 16,000 fans, the largest sporting gathering seen in Europe since the continent went into lockdown in March.

The Adria Tour had been organised to fill the gap in the virus-hit tennis calendar which has been on ice since mid-March and was played out to a daily crowd of 4,000 fans at Djokovic's tennis centre on the banks of the Danube in Belgrade last week.

Dimitrov, Djokovic and Thiem, as well as the other players, were then seen partying at a packed Belgrade night spot.

Thiem has since travelled to the south of France to play in another exhibition tournament, the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in Nice.

The Adria Tour had already suffered an embarrassing setback when the planned Montenegro leg of the four-nation tournament was cancelled over coronavirus protocol rules.

Montenegro was due to be the third stop on June 27-28 after Croatia and before the conclusion in Bosnia.

But organisers said the visit to Montenegro had to be called off when it became apparent Serbia's health requirements did not match up to those of Montenegro.

Commenting on social distancing measures during the Belgrade leg, Djokovic argued that both Serbia and the region had been relatively successful in containing the virus.

"Of course you can criticise, you can also say this is dangerous or not, but it's not up to me to make the calls what is health-wise right or wrong," the 17-time Grand Slam winner told reporters.

Last week, the ATP and WTA said they were restarting their tours in August.

However, the US Open in New York will be played behind closed doors and under strict health protocols which Djokovic has described as "extreme" and "impossible".

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