Djokovic puts up million euros to help COVID-19 fight in Serbia
BELGRADE Tennis’s top player, Novak Djokovic, pledged one million euros (US$1.12 million) to help buy ventilators and other medical equipment in his native Serbia on Friday, joining a list of athletes in the fight against coronavirus.
The virus, which emerged in China late last year, has brought sporting events around the world to a halt and killed more than 24,000 people.
Rafa Nadal called on Spanish athletes to help raise $12 million to help fight the pandemic, while Roger Federer contributed $1.04 million 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.”
Serbia has reported 457 confirmed cases of coronavirus and seven deaths.
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 until 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 lockdowns to arrest the spread of the virus, Djokovic said he has enjoyed spending time with his family.
“The situation is very unpredictable. 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 imposter of a virus,” he said.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic has joined a growing list of professional athletes pitching in to fight the coronavirus.