World No 19 Grigor Dimitrov is still suffering the mental and physical effects of coronavirus, one month on from testing positive for Covid-19 at Novak Djokovic’s disastrous Adria Tour event.
Dimitrov played basketball with world No 1 Djokovic just days before testing positive for the novel coronavirus and has now opened up on the toll it has taken on both his mind and his body.
Players regularly ignored social distancing measures off the court during the exhibition event and a spate of positive tests followed, including organiser Djokovic and his wife Jelena.
‘Clearly I’m not ready to compete at the highest level right now,’ Dimitrov told Tennis Majors. ‘The virus was hard on me so I stayed home for about a month.
‘I was not breathing well, was not feeling well. (I was) tired, you know, all the symptoms, had no taste, no smell. Everything you could possibly think of so it was no fun.
‘In a way I’m lucky to be on the court right now. You don’t know. One day I feel really well and I have four hours to be out but then all of a sudden I need to completely shut down and take a nap, or just rest.’
Dimitrov did make a return to action in France at the weekend as part of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, only to lose both of his matches. He has won two of nine sets played and is bottom of Group A – including Richard Gasquet, Feliciano Lopez and Alexei Popyrin – on -27 points.
The Adria Tour was organised by Djokovic as an exhibition series in Serbia and Croatia after the ATP Tour was suspended due to the impact of the pandemic.
Dimitrov’s positive test saw the final of the event cancelled, before more positive tests emerged in the aftermath.
There was criticism of participants when images were released of Dimitrov and Djokovic playing basketball during some downtime, clearly not abiding to the social distancing measures.
Dimitrov later revealed that he felt unwell during his defeat to Borna Coric, soon before returning the positive test.
On his return to Monaco Dimitrov, who appeared below form at the event in Croatia, posted a message revealing his condition.
Cracked under the pressure 😬@feliciano_lopez sneaked away with the win in a sudden death.
With a 0-2 record, we won’t be seeing @GrigorDimitrov in the Final Four next Sunday. #UTShowdown pic.twitter.com/5MwyheM7RH
‘I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions,’ he said. ‘I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering. Thanks for your support and please stay safe and healthy.’
Recently Djokovic hit back at critics of the event, citing a ‘witch-hunt’ aimed at participants and organisers.
‘Lately I only see criticism, very malicious,’ Djokovic told Sportski Zurnal. ‘Obviously, there is something more than that criticism, as if there is an agenda, as if it were a witch-hunt.
‘Someone has to fall, some person, some big name to be the main culprit for everything.
‘I leave it to others to say if that is fair, I don’t think it is, I think that we must learn from all of this and to adapt as we go along.’