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How Novak Djokovic testing positive for COVID-19 almost derailed IPL 2020

Nenad Zimonjic, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic at the Adria Tour
Nenad Zimonjic, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic at the Adria Tour
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 23 Nov 2020, 14:11 IST
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Novak Djokovic and other tennis players testing positive for COVID-19 during the Adria Tour had caused doubts within the BCCI about whether they should go ahead with the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Arun Dhumal, the treasurer of the BCCI, recently revealed how they were in 'two minds' about holding the IPL out of fear that the cricketers would contract the virus.

In June, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and his wife were among those who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus during the Adria Tour exhibition matches organized in Serbia and Croatia. Several others associated with the tournament, which was played without social distancing norms, were also infected with the virus - including Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov, Viktor Troicki and Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic.

The 2020 edition of the IPL was supposed to start just a couple of months after the Adria Tour, and the signs at that time were not positive. But the cash-rich league did go ahead finally in the United Arab Emirates, thanks to the persistence of BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

"After that report (about Novak Djokovic testing positive) came in, we were in two minds. Many people told us to not go ahead with it (IPL)," Dhumal told The Indian Express.
"What if something happens to a player? The IPL would go on for almost three months. However, Jay said we should go ahead, he was more confident than all of us," Dhumal added.

The IPL was jolted just before the start of the season, with several members of the CSK contingent as well as a member of the broadcasting contingent testing positive. But the tournament remained largely incident-free once it got underway, and at the end of the season the organizers received widespread praise for their efforts.

Novak Djokovic one of several tennis players who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent months

Novak Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals
Novak Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is one of several tennis players who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic broke out earlier this year. Some of the other notable names are World No. 2 Simona Halep, Americans Sam Querrey and Frances Tiafoe, Japan's Kei Nishikori, Italy's Fabio Fognini and France's Benoit Paire.

After the resumption of the circuit, Novak Djokovic won the Cincinnati Masters (played in New York this year) and the Rome Masters, and reached the final of the French Open, where he lost to Spain's Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic also reached the semifinals of the season-ending ATP Finals in London and finished the season as World No. 1 for a record sixth time. The 33-year-old now has his sights set on breaking Roger Federer's record of most weeks at World No. 1 in men's tennis.

Published 23 Nov 2020, 14:11 IST
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