Novak Djokovic’s father blames Grigor Dimitrov for ‘bringing’ the coronavirus to Serbia

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I saw this story when it came out, and I spent most of Wednesday thinking about how f–king wrong it is. As we’ve been discussing all week, Novak Djokovic organized the “Adria Tour,” an exhibition tennis tour of Balkan countries over the course of several weekends. The first stop was Belgrade, Serbia, with Djokovic acting as congenial host – there was so much bro-hugging and sweaty nightclub dancing and dinners out and sweaty soccer games and sweaty kids’ clinics. By the time Djokovic and the other players arrived in Croatia last weekend, all of them looked worse for wear. Within days, we learned that Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki had all tested positive for the coronavirus, and that other people around the tour (coaches, Troicki’s pregnant wife) had tested positive as well. Then Novak confirmed on Tuesday that he and his wife had also tested positive.

I’m recapping all of that because… we honestly don’t know who had what and when. At no point were ANY of these players getting corona tests in Belgrade. It doesn’t even seem like they even got their temperatures taken by the tour. Masks were not handed out to anyone. And yet, Novak’s father is convinced that because Dimitrov was the first to PUBLICLY SAY he had tested positive, that somehow Dimitrov is the Patient Zero of this outbreak, and it’s all Dimitrov’s fault.

Novak Djokovic’s parents defended their son on Wednesday and blamed another tennis player for spreading the coronavirus at a series of exhibition matches hosted by the top-ranked player. Djokovic and his wife tested positive for the virus on Tuesday. The 17-time Grand Slam champion apologized online for organizing the Adria Tour events, which brought together professional players from various countries to play matches in Serbia and Croatia. Thousands of spectators attended the matches, and no social distancing was observed.

Djokovic’s father blamed the cancellation of the tour on Grigor Dimitrov, one of three other players to test positive in the past few days. There is no evidence to suggest Dimitrov spread the virus to others.

“Why did it happen? Because that man probably came sick, who knows from where,” Srdjan Djokovic told RTL Croatia TV. “He didn’t test here. He tested somewhere else. … I think that’s not fair. He inflicted damage to both Croatia and to us as a family in Serbia. Nobody is feeling well because of this situation.”

NBA player Nikola Jokic, a Serb who plays for the Denver Nuggets, has also tested positive for the coronavirus. He was pictured shaking hands with Djokovic at an exhibition basketball event in Belgrade this month. Jokic is reportedly recovering in his hometown of Sombor.

Djokovic’s mother said both her son and his wife, Jelena, are feeling fine but are suffering because of the widespread criticism. “It is horrible what is being written, but we are used to it,” Dijana Djokovic told the Belgrade Blic daily newspaper.

[From ESPN]

The air of grievance from Novak’s parents is an ugly thing, as is placing the blame on Grigor, who is arguably one of the most well-liked players on both the men’s and women’s tour. The players who flew to Belgrade came there *because* they respected Novak and what he was trying to do, which was raise money for charity. Novak wasn’t actually paying his friends for this exhibition tour, they were donating their time and energy. And now they’re being thrown under the bus by Novak’s parents, because clearly the Djocovid family doesn’t understand “science” or “viral infections.”

It’s possible that Dimitrov was carrying the virus. It’s possible that Sascha Zverev carried it, or Nikola Jokic, or perhaps one of the dozens of people partying with players in that Belgrade nightclub. Just because Dimitrov was the first to feel symptomatic (and even that I doubt) and the first to publicly announce his positive test, that doesn’t make him the FIRST infected. And even if he was, what does it say about Novak and the way he organized this toxic tour that he completely blew off social distancing and testing protocols?

Here’s the response to Djocovid Senior from Grigor’s manager:

Also, Dominic Thiem’s manager said some words. (Thiem has tested negative, and he’s been flying constantly all over Europe, despite being exposed to the virus like 30 times.)

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30 Responses to “Novak Djokovic’s father blames Grigor Dimitrov for ‘bringing’ the coronavirus to Serbia”

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  1. Laalaa says:

    I am no Đoković fan. I don’t have a good opinion of him by any means. I am pissed because of the tour, I live in Croatia. I do not pity him for this, and I do think it was excellently put when you defined it as toxic masculinity.
    But he is not THE ONLY ONE who is guilty. All of them screwed up, and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but he doesn’t deserve to be blamed for everything. Ministry of health, the goverment, the organisation people, the venue people, the restaurant people, the club people. Blaming everything on Đoković means neglecting the fact that the whole thing was a terrible mistake.
    Edit: nor does Dimitrov, or any single person! My point is – EVERYBODY made stupid mistakes, and now there are consequences.

    • Ninks says:

      Djocovid was the face and driving force behind it. He is a powerful wealthy player who used the platform given to him by his power and status to spread false information, undermine public health guidelines and influence younger and inexperienced players. If he had insisted on maintaining social distancing and following safe protocols, they would have been implemented. He did allow any because that would make him look weak. It was an ego driven decision and yes, others have a portion of the blame, but he wanted the glory and to prove to everybody he was right after the backlash he got to previous comments. He made himself the poster boy, now he has to live with the consequences of that.

      • Calibration says:

        DJ is world famous and worth at least 50 million USD, what local restaurant and players, kids etc wouldn’t want to hang with him. This totally is on him and his ego.

    • Godwina says:

      :They’re all a lot of fucking idiots” is what I kept thinking as I read this post (and throughout following this gong show of poor judgement since it happened).

  2. dsfskfsg says:

    In a way, it really doesn’t matter who got the virus first if you are not going to impose mandatory testing or adhere to social distancing guidelines everyone will get it eventually anyway. The Adria Tour was billed and marketed as Novack’s tour and his brother Djordje was the tournament director, the Djokovic family really need to accept some of the blame for this rather than publicly bashing someone else.

  3. Erinn says:

    “Because that man probably came sick, who knows from where,”
    Sooooo we can add xenophobic to the list that already contains anti-science, anti-vax, anti-thinking? I know that it’s his dad saying it, but come the f-ck on. This guy has shown who he is SO many times already, that it doesn’t surprise me that his family is big on ‘othering’.

    Just imagine being a 33 year old 17 time grand slam winner and having to have mommy and daddy rush to the press to defend you. He should be horrified and embarrassed, but I suspect he was raised to think he was the most special boy to ever exist.

    • Reginald says:

      ”He should be horrified and embarrassed, but I suspect he was raised to think he was the most special boy to ever exist.“
      Preach Erinn!

    • dsfskfsg says:

      ” but I suspect he was raised to think he was the most special boy to ever exist.”

      Oh, he was. I read an old interview by his mother a couple of days ago where she said something along the lines of “Novak was God’s chosen one”. I’ll have to find the exact quote and post it because it really is mindboggling. He and his family really do believe that he’s god’s gift to humanity.

    • Green Desert says:

      @erinn – all of this!

    • TheOriginalMia says:

      His dad is an ass. This comment is par for the course.

  4. Reginald says:

    NoVax DjoCovid and his pompous dad are both asses. I shudder to think of the number of innocent kids and even people on the plan DjoCovid must have infected yet no one is talking about it and his dad is busy throwing blames. I hope he is being stripped off his endorsements. What a prick of a family

  5. BUBS says:

    Dear Novak,
    You know you made a dumb decision. You know you put lives at risk. Please tell your father to keep quiet. He’s only making you look more foolish!

    A concerned human

  6. S says:

    Thiem’s manager got the point. Event was marketed with all Covid preacutions involved, including social distancing among watcher,masks,etc. And still,being from Serbia, and tenis fan, I could not understand holding tournament during pandemic,nor going there.

  7. S808 says:

    That’s a shitty way to treat someone who took time out of their schedule to participate in his son’s charity event. Doesn’t matter who gave it to who imo, it was Novak’s event and therefore his responsibility to make sure it was a safe, healthy environment for everyone.

  8. Margareth says:

    The dumbassery is strong in the Djokovic family!

  9. Belig says:

    Didn’t Novak’s father also complain a few days ago that Federer wouldn’t retire and it was sooo unfair that he wouldn’t let Novak win more stuff? Stupid and entitled, the lot of them.

    • Tanguerita says:

      HAHAHAHA!We must have thought about it simultaneously and posted our comments two minutes apart.

      • Belig says:

        Look at Erinn and dsfskfsg’s comments above… The Djokovic parents seem to be completely delusional! And their son is too stupid himself to realize how much of a liability they are. Three brain cells between the lot of them…
        I’ll stop there, I’m getting mean! =D

  10. Tanguerita says:

    Isn’t it the same sweaty asshole who said that Roger Federer keeps on playing tennis because he wants to prevent Djokovic and Nadal from breaking his Grand Slam record? This whole family is trash.

  11. Tiffany says:

    So Novak’s standing in the tennis community just plummeted, I think. If he wants to set up some charity event in the future, something tells me all his calls will go to voice mail and never returned.

  12. starryfish29 says:

    Yeah, it’s definitely not his anti-science son being a greedy f*ck who ignored literally every warning & protocol for a check. I think we know where Novak got his brain’s from.

  13. AnnaKist says:

    Berrgh. It’s easy to see where the son gets his twattiness from. They are all ignorant, selfish, irresponsible and reckless arses. Such a shame there’s mo vaccine against arrogance and stupidity. Oh, hang on. Novak D is completely opposed to vaccines. 🙄

  14. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Placing blame doesn’t diminish the colossal stupidity of everyone involved. Sorry dad.

  15. Kayleigh says:

    And some how his parents made this guy look worse.

    HIS tour, HIS xenophobic family, HIS lack of respect for science, all of it.

    Let’s stop celebrating idiots that are good at 1 thing that has no real value to society. Sorry, but if all the tennis players stopped playing, the world would keep turning.

  16. Sof says:

    To be fair, when you listen to what his father has said over the years, you can see why Novak is the idiot he is.
    Again, I put most of the blame on the government. They were the only ones who could stop these people and did nothing.
    Now that you mention him, I find it weird that both Zverev and his girlfriend had tested negative. If you follow her on instagram you can see that before Adria they were out and about in the beaches of Monaco with friends as if nothing was wrong. And then she did hang out with Jelena…

    • Beach Dreams says:

      Zverev believes that he caught the virus around December/January while he was at some event with Federer (no idea if his girlfriend was with him at the time). I really hope this doesn’t make him think that he’s fine to do whatever he wants without precautions. He might’ve tested negative now, but there’s no proof that those who caught the virus are immune afterwards (there’s been multiple instances of people getting infected again).

  17. adastraperaspera says:

    “Djocovid family .” I almost spit out my tea! Thank you for making me laugh a little when things are so dire right now. I’m sorry for everyone who was exposed by this event. I agree with the commenter above who said that his big idea to do this should have been vetoed by local and national authorities.

  18. Beach Dreams says:

    DJokovic’s family has been consistently rude and obnoxious over the years, especially his father Srdjan. It’s no surprise that they’d try to cast all blame on other people. Dimitrov absolutely deserves to be called out (especially for waiting to be tested even after showing symptoms) but Djokovic was the ringleader of this mess.

  19. TyrantDestroyed says:

    That family is definitely not very smart and full of douchery. I hope ND’s tennis peers pay attention to this debacle and alienate their “friend”. The dude is a 30 something professional and he cannot learn to take full responsibility for his poor choices.