“From day one of the organization of the Adria Tour, we’ve been following the rules and the measures that have been regulated by government institutions and health public institutions,” Novak Djokovic said last week before the Croatia leg of Adria, a tennis tournament he’d organized for charity. “We’ve been through all these processes and the result of it all was amazing.”
Things swiftly became less amazing on Tuesday this week, when the world number one announced that he and his wife Jelena had both tested positive for coronavirus.
Djokovic is now the fourth leading tennis player to announce that they have been infected with the disease since taking part in the now-canceled Balkans tournament.
“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” Djokovic said in a statement Tuesday, apologizing after announcing that he was sick. “Our tournament was meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”
But as he has now discovered, Covid-19 doesn’t care how pure anyone’s intentions are — and following the letter of a region’s guidelines is no guarantee of safety when dealing with a virus which seizes any opportunity to disseminate, and remains far from fully understood. As surging cases across the US and in countries around the world are demonstrating every day, a preemptive assumption that business can continue as usual can have devastating consequences.