Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour kicked up a storm after it was revealed that four players - Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki, Grigor Dimitrov and Djokovic himself - had tested positive for COVID-19. Later tournament director Goran Ivanisevic also contracted the dreaded virus, despite having tested negative twice earlier.
All the players have fully recovered now, and reported positive results recently. But Grigor Dimitrov, who was the first to test positive, was the only one who experienced symptoms.
The Bulgarian has now opened up about the ill-effects of the virus and how despite having recovered, he might take some more time to get back to normal.
The virus was hard on me: Grigor Dimitrov, who has been absent from tennis since Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour
Speaking to tennismajors during his participation in the second stage of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, Dimitrov revealed the after-effects of COVID-19 following Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour, and what it felt like to compete on the court once again.
"I came in honestly with no expectations," said the Bulgarian. "I haven’t practiced for that long. I’m just trying to focus on the format and enjoy it. Clearly I’m not ready to compete at the highest level right now. The movement is getting better; everything is kind of going in the right direction but it’s still not easy to recover. I’m far (from my best level) for sure."
In the wake of the huge controversy created by Novak Djokovic and the others at the Adria Tour, Dimitrov and Coric are the only two positive players to have competed. And they both seem to be in poor form.
Dimitrov has been winless during the UTS and Coric won just one out of four matches during the Eastern European Championship in late July. Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, has only been practicing outside tournaments - just like Viktor Troicki.
"I haven’t played tennis in over a month," said Dimitrov. "The virus was hard on me. I stayed home for about a month. It’s a tough road back."
Unlike Novak Djokovic, who was asymptomatic and recovered within about a week of testing positive, Dimitrov felt the full brunt of the virus. The Bulgarian relayed the various symptoms he faced, saying he had lost the sense of taste and smell for a while.
"I think it’s I guess is different for everyone," the World No. 19 revealed. "I was not breathing well. I was tired. I had no taste; no smell. Everything you could possibly think of. So it was no fun.
"To be honest I’m lucky to be on the court right now. I don’t take each day for granted. I really appreciate being here. It’s so nice that during time off you can come out and play with your competitors," Dimitrov added.
The Bulgarian also spoke of the mental challenges faced by him, and the ones that lie ahead for tennis players amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It doesn’t matter how mentally strong you are. I think as a person, an athlete or anything, it’s inevitable to get some bad thoughts in your head so I had to deal with that too," Dimitrov said.
"But it’s a strange time so you have to work not only on your physical but on your mental aspect as well," he added.Published 27 Jul 2020, 15:24 IST