novak djokovic

Novak Djokovic
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Novak Djokovic tests positive for coronavirus

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BELGRADE, Serbia — Novak Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday after taking part in a tennis exhibition series he organized in Serbia and Croatia.

The top-ranked Serb is the fourth player to test positive for the virus after first playing in Belgrade and then again last weekend in Zadar, Croatia. His wife also tested positive.

“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.

Djokovic has been criticized for organizing the tournament and bringing in players from other countries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Viktor Troicki said Tuesday that he and his pregnant wife have both been diagnosed with the virus, while Grigor Dimitrov, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist from Bulgaria, said Sunday he tested positive. Borna Coric played Dimitrov on Saturday in Zadar and said Monday he has also tested positive.

There were no social distancing measures observed at the matches in either country.

“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” Djokovic said. “Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”

Djokovic, who has previously said he was against taking a vaccine for the virus even if it became mandatory to travel, was the face behind the Adria Tour, a series of exhibition events that started in the Serbian capital and then moved to Zadar.

He left Croatia after the final was canceled and was tested in Belgrade. The statement said Djokovic was showing no symptoms.

Despite the positive test, Djokovic defended the exhibition series.

“It was all borne with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this,” Djokovic said. “We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.

“Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.”

Djokovic said he will remain in self-isolation for 14 days and also apologized to anyone who became infected as a result of the series.

If Novak Djokovic could change one match in his tennis career — the Olympics

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Novak Djokovic has won just about everything in tennis — all four Grand Slam tournaments, the only man to win all nine Masters Series events, a Davis Cup. But, his trophy cabinet is missing an Olympic gold medal.

So this exchange on Friday with Andy Murray, in an Instagram live, came as little shock:

Murray: If you could go back and change one result in your career, which would you choose?

Djokovic: I think it would be related to Olympic Games. So, maybe the match I played against you in London [7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals] or Rafa in Beijing 2008 [6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the semifinals].

Murray: Was that in the semis?

Djokovic: Yeah, I lost semis, also very close [to Nadal]. It was 3-all, 4-all, I had like 15-30, 15-40, something like that. I lost like, I think, 6-4 [or] 7-5 in the third. I missed an overhead, very easy overhead, which is quite typical of me throughout my career.

Murray: I think I’ve seen that one a couple of times.

Djokovic: I would say Olympic Games because I for sure, I was very fortunate to have the great success in my career and win all four Slams. And all Masters Series. But, you know, I did win bronze in Beijing, but I was really feeling good about myself. For example, in ’16, in Brazil, in Rio.

Murray: You had a tough draw there, to be fair. [Juan Martin del Potro won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) in the first round]

Djokovic: Del Potro, [who] went on to play with you in the finals. It was a very tough match, two tiebreaks, and I remember two days before the match, I was practicing, and I was feeling great. I did lose third round of Wimbledon, so I had enough time to get ready. I won Canada, and I came to Rio full of confidence, was probably, I had like 15 best months of my career behind me before Rio. Then I remember, I was practicing for two hours on the center court singles. Then I went on with Serbian guys to practice for another hour, hour and a half doubles, and I started to feel my wrist at the end of the doubles sets that we played. And I was like, well, I’m tired. It started to be more painful, more painful, and I don’t want this to sound like an excuse, that it’s because of that I lost to del Potro. Absolutely not. I was able. I did get some injections. I had to go out on the court and try, but I felt really sad that I wasn’t at my best, and I had a really tough draw. I felt like, if I had maybe a slightly better draw, that I could kind of work my way in the tournament. So, probably, yes, if I had a chance to turn back the time and maybe change the outcomes, it would be probably Rio or London with you in ’12.

Murray, the Olympic singles gold medalist in 2012 and 2016, said the one match he would like to have back was his 2016 French Open final loss to Djokovic. Murray has played Djokovic in seven Grand Slam finals, winning two of them.

Djokovic was all but assured of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics when sports were halted due to the coronavirus. Murray, coming back from a hip injury he thought would be career-ending, needed decent results in the spring to automatically qualify in singles, though he also is eligible for a wild card as a past Grand Slam or Olympic champion.

MORE: Top U.S. tennis player says he will skip Tokyo Olympics

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Novak Djokovic wins 8th Australian Open, rallying past Dominic Thiem

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Novak Djokovic won his eighth Australian Open title the hard way, rallying past Dominic Thiem 6-3, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final to defend the Big Three’s dominance in men’s tennis.

Djokovic was error-prone in the first three and a half sets, visited with a trainer and a doctor and was even called for two time violations on his serve. Thiem, seeking to become the first man born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam, could see the finish line with a break point early in the fourth set.

“I was on brink of losing,” Djokovic said. “I didn’t feel that great. Dominic started dominating from back of the court.”

Djokovic saved it, then broke the Austrian’s serve at 4-3 for the first time since the opening set. Djokovic did it again at 1-all in the decider en route to extending his male record for Australian Open crowns.

Djokovic earned his 17th Grand Slam singles title overall, moving within three of Roger Federer for the first time in his career. Federer has a male record 20 Slams; Rafael Nadal has 19. The Big Three combined to win the last 13 Slams.

“Definitely my favorite court, my favorite stadium in the world,” said Djokovic, who moved to 16-0 in semifinals and finals in Rod Laver Arena. “I’m blessed to hold this trophy once again.”

LISTS: Most Grand Slam singles titles

Djokovic’s latest means that he snatches the No. 1 ranking from Nadal. Djokovic, who turns 33 on May 22, will have the same number of Slams as Federer and Nadal each had on their 33rd birthdays.

Thiem, the closest challenger to Djokovic, Federer and Nadal in recent years, narrowed the gap. He lost the 2018 French Open final to Nadal in three sets and the 2019 French final in four to the Spaniard.

“Novak is part of three guys who are by far best players ever,” said Thiem, who beat Nadal in a four-set quarterfinal, “These guys brought tennis to a complete new level, so they also brought me to a much better level.

“It was easier for sure in a different era to win big titles, that’s 100 percent. But I’m happy that I can compete with these guys on the best level. I really also that I win my maiden slam when they are still around because it just counts more.”

It’s the first time in the Open Era that three straight men’s Slam finals went five sets.

The last two showed just how close we may be to a changing of the guard. Consider Nadal needed 4 hours, 51 minutes to outlast Russian Daniil Medvedev at the last major, the U.S. Open in September.

“You definitely have a lot more time,” Djokovic, who has won 11 Slams since turning 26, told the 26-year-old Thiem. “I’m sure you will get one of the Grand Slam trophies. More. More than one.”

Now the spotlight shifts back to Nadal, who goes for a 13th French Open title in four months. He can tie Federer’s Slam total for the first time.

MORE: Coco Gauff eyes Olympics; can she qualify?

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