COVID-19 cases at Djokovic’s event put sports under scrutiny

BELGRADE, Serbia — Novak Djokovic’s charity tennis exhibition series, combined with an overall softening of coronavirus restrictions in Serbia and Croatia, has been followed by an increase in the number of positive cases among professional athletes.

Two tennis players ranked among the top 40 in the world and five players at Serbia’s biggest soccer club have tested positive for the virus after being involved in sporting events where fans packed into the stands and social distancing was not enforced.

Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world who previously said he was against taking a vaccine for the virus even if it became mandatory to travel, will now be tested as well, his media team said Monday.

“He is fine, he has no symptoms but nonetheless, he needs to do the test and then we will see what’s going on,” they said in a statement.

Djokovic was the face behind the Adria Tour, a series of exhibition events that started in Belgrade and moved to Zadar, Croatia, this weekend.

Grigor Dimitrov, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist from Bulgaria, said Sunday he tested positive for the virus. Borna Coric played Dimitrov on Saturday in Zadar and said Monday he has also tested positive for the virus.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic was among the spectators at the beach resort and will also be tested.

“I am really sorry for any harm I might have caused,” said Coric, who urged anyone who had contact with him to be tested.

That could be a lot of people. Coric, Djokovic and other players, including Marin Cilic, played basketball with a local team last week and posed together for photos.

Djokovic was supposed to play in the series final on Sunday, but that event was cancelled.

Djokovic and Dimitrov also played in the Adria Tour’s opening

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Coric becomes 2nd tennis player to test positive for COVID-19

ZAGREB, Croatia — Borna Coric has become the second tennis player to test positive for the coronavirus after participating in an exhibition event in Croatia.

Coric, a Croatian player ranked 33rd in the world, was among several dozens of people who were tested for the virus after Grigor Dimitrov announced that he was positive. That led to the cancellation of the exhibition event in Croatia, where top-ranked Novak Djokovic was scheduled to play in the final.

Coric played a match against Dimitrov in the Adriatic resort of Zadar on Saturday in the second leg of the exhibition series.

“Hello everyone, I want to inform you that I am positive for Covid-19. Please everyone who has been in contact with me for the last few days gets tested!” Coric posted on Twitter.

He said he was feeling well and has no symptoms.

Dimitrov, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist, is the highest-profile current player to say he has the virus. His announcement Sunday on his Instagram page comes at the end of a week when the U.S. Open said it would go forward.

After Dimitrov’s announcement, Djokovic flew to Belgrade to get tested. The other participants and their contacts were tested on Sunday in Zadar.

“He (Djokovic) will conduct all the tests, ” the top-ranked player’s media team in Belgrade said in a statement on Monday. “Then, we’ll wait for the results. He is fine, he has no symptoms but nonetheless, he needs to do the test and then we will see what’s going on.”

Djokovic has not said if he would play at the U.S. Open from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, citing strict anti-virus measures at the Grand Slam event.

Some of the sport’s top names, including defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal and top-ranked Ash Barty, have expressed reservations about

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Santi Denia and Luis de la Fuente double act proposed for UAE, Jorge Luis Pinto talks slow

Intermediaries have offered the UAE Football Association an Iberian takeover of their main international sides with victorious Spain Under-19 head coach Santi Denia proposed as the next Under-23 boss, alongside Spain U-21’s Luis de la Fuente leading the seniors.

This option is live at a time when an agreement with Jorge Luis Pinto – who led Costa Rica to World Cup 2014’s quarter-finals – remains elusive. Representatives of the 67-year-old Colombian spurned an initial offer that was received late last week.

The governing body is set to imminently meet again to discuss latest developments. Al Ittihad newspaper reported on Sunday that Al Dhafra’s Vuk Rasovic is the current favourite for the post, ahead of; revered former Al Ain and Al Ahli leader Cosmin Olaroiu, ex-Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club and Al Wasl coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena, Pinto and Juan Antonio Pizzi – the one-time Barcelona centre forward who guided Saudi Arabia at World Cup 2018.

A tumultuous spell for the Whites witnessed beaten World Cup 2010 finalist Bert van Marwijk sacked in the wake of the winter’s painful Gulf Cup campaign, after 260 days in charge. Replacement Ivan Jovanovic’s six-month deal was then terminated in April without playing a match because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving them to hunt a fifth manager in three years.

Maciej Skorza is still listed as in charge of the UAE U-23s on the governing body’s website. TVP Sport declared in February, however, that the Pole exited in the aftermath of January’s failure to secure Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification at the AFC U-23 Championship.

Denia and De la Fuente – plus Pinto – both lack the Middle Eastern experienced craved by the UAE FA. They do, though, boast impressive CVs.

The latter-mentioned Spaniard was initially linked to the UAE earlier this month. He won La Liga

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