Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

Novak and Jelena Djokovic donate €1m to Serbia's coronavirus fight

World's best male tennis player and wife pledge funds for medical devices and supplies

Novak Djokovic won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title for a fifth time in his final tournament before the coronavirus-enforced break. AP Photo
Novak Djokovic won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title for a fifth time in his final tournament before the coronavirus-enforced break. AP Photo

Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked male tennis player, revealed on Friday that he and his wife, Jelena, are donating €1 million (Dh4m) towards medical devices and supplies in their native Serbia to help in the fight against the coronavirus.

There are now more than 542,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases around the world and 24,000 deaths, the latest numbers compiled by the Johns Hopkins University global dashboard show. About 125,000 have recovered.

Rafael Nadal, one of Djokovic's long-time on-court rivals, had called on Spanish athletes to help raise €11m to help fight the pandemic, while the other member of tennis' so-called Big Three, Roger Federer, contributed one million Swiss Francs (Dh3.8m) to vulnerable families in his native Switzerland.

"I wish to express my gratitude to all the medical staff across the world and in my native Serbia for helping everyone infected by the coronavirus," Djokovic told Serbian media over a video conference from Marbella, Spain.

"Unfortunately, more and more people are getting infected every day. My wife Jelena and I are putting together a plan how to best donate our resources to people in need.

"Our donation is one million euros for the purchase of ventilators and other medical equipment."

Djokovic was in imperious form before the pandemic brought the tennis season to a halt with both the men's ATP Tour and the WTA Tour, which runs women's competitions, suspended till June 7.

The 32-year-old Serb has won 18 straight matches this season, lifting the ATP Cup with Serbia before a record-extending eighth Australian Open title in Melbourne and then a fifth title at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

With countries going into lengthy lockdowns to arrest the spread of the virus, Djokovic said he had enjoyed spending an extended amount of time with his family.

"The situation is very unpredictable," he said. "There is a lot of fear and panic and I understand that completely because there is so much suffering. My family and I are trying to stay as positive and high-spirited as possible in battling this impostor of a virus."

Updated: March 27, 2020 04:50 PM

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