Novak Djokovic has said sorry for hosting a tennis tournament that spread coronavirus.
The men’s world number one, who took part in the event in Belgrade, tested positive for Covid-19, along with his fellow participants Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki.
Australian player Nick Kyrgios has called taking part in the charity event a “bone-headed decision”, while Britain’s Andy Murray said the positive test results were “a lesson for all of us”.
The start of the tournament attracted 4,000 fans and players were seen embracing at the end of their matches, as well as socialising together and even going out to nightclubs.
The remaining legs of the unofficial competition have now been cancelled.
Djokovic went on Twitter on Tuesday evening to confirm that he and his wife had contracted the virus and would now be isolating at home in Serbia for the next two weeks.
He wrote: “I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm. Everything the organizers and I did the past month we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions.
“We believed the tournament met all health protocols and the health of our region seemed in good condition to finally unite people for philanthropic reasons.”
Djokovic added: “We were wrong, and it was too soon. I can’t express enough how sorry I am for this and every case of infection.”
He also requested that everyone who was present at the tournament get tested for coronavirus and practice social distancing.
“The rest of the tournament has been canceled and we will remain focused on all those who have been affected. I pray for everyone’s full recovery,” he added.
Djokovic is one of few sports stars to have strayed from the official messaging on coronavirus, saying that he “wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine”.
His comments have been abused by those who promote conspiracy theories about 5G causing the virus, including his own wife.
The ATP Tour season is scheduled to restart on 14 August – and the US Open is due to take place at empty courts in September.
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