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Coronavirus Spreads Among Tennis Players, Footballers


Grigor Dimitrov, who participated recently in an exhibition event, announced he tested positive for COVID-19.

Three more people involved in Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour tennis exhibition series have been infected by the coronavirus, Croatian officials said on June 22, a day after Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov said he had tested positive.

One of the three players, who have not been named by officials, is Croatian player Borna Coric, who himself confirmed that he was infected.

"Hi everyone, I wanted to inform you that I tested positive for COVID-19," Coric said on Instagram. "I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during the last few days gets tested!"

He said that he was displaying no symptoms and apologized "for any harm" he may have caused.

Croatian tennis player Borna Coric
Croatian tennis player Borna Coric

The final of the tournament in Zadar, which should have been played a week after the inaugural leg in Belgrade, was canceled before its scheduled conclusion on June 21 after Dimitrov, ranked 19th in the world, announced his illness on Instagram on June 21.

The finalists were Djokovic and Russian Andrei Rublev.

Separately, Serbian media reported that Djokovic's coach was also infected.

Djokovic, the world No. 1, came under fire for organizing the tournament with few health precautions and for publicly partying after the Belgrade round, even as the tennis world remains in lockdown. He reportedly refused to be tested and has returned to Belgrade to consider his steps.

Others, including Croatia's Marin Cilic and Germany's Alexander Zverev, showed up at the local clinic for testing, according to media reports.

Djokovic had frequently come under fire over his public position against vaccinations and his promotion of pseudo-medicine.

Meanwhile, five football players from Red Star Belgrade have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Serbian champions said in a statement that the players -- Marko Gobeljic, Njegos Petrovic, Dusan Jovancic, Marko Konatar, and Branko Jovicic -- are feeling fine and remain in isolation.

Four of the players have displayed symptoms of COVID-19 while one has shown no symptoms, Red Star said.

The five players did not attend the match against Proleter Novi Sad on June 20 when the team celebrated the title, the statement said.

But they did play against Partizan Belgrade in the Serbian Cup semifinals this month in front of about 20,000 fans.

The crowds that attended both games did not respect social-distancing rules and few wore face masks.

Serbia continues to record nearly 100 infections daily, and the decision to allow fans in stadiums has drawn widespread criticism at home and abroad.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa
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