Novak Djokovic has been pictured soaking up the sun on a Marbella beach, just days after the Serbian tennis ace accidentally broke coronavirus restrictions by taking part in a training session on a clay tennis court.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner was photographed earlier this week enjoying the warm weather on the Costa Del Sol after restrictions of movement designed to halt the spread of Covid-19 were loosened, allowing people in Spain to visit beaches.
Djokovic wasn’t breaking any rules on this occasion, but he came under fire days before, after visiting a local tennis court and posting footage on social media.
“So happy to play on clay… well, just for a bit with my phone in the hands,” he wrote, but the resort was forced to issue an apology soon after, when it was pointed out that the easing of lockdown restrictions didn’t allow for tennis training to take place.
It had been confirmed by the Spanish government that athletes were permitted to return to training on May 4, but it was later clarified that tennis courts open to the public must wait until May 11.
Que bueno esto punto.. Te gusta correr Carlos? Estoy muy feliz con tu movimiento 👌😆👏💪🎾 so happy to play on clay .. well, just for a bit with my phone in the hands. I don’t recommend this to anyone 18- years old 😉
“On the understanding that from May 4 all professional sports players were authorised to train, Djokovic was permitted to train in our facilities,” the Puente Romano resort said in a statement.
“Uncertainties regarding the new Ministerial Order that was published were sent to the Spanish Tennis Federation, and subsequently they have confirmed that the use of the Tennis Club is not possible until May 11.
“This clarification has been shared with Djokovic, and both parties have agreed that training should resume from this date.
“We are sorry that our interpretation of the regulation could have been erroneous, and this could have inconvenienced Mr. Djokovic or any other citizen acting in good faith.”
The Serbian star had previously come under fire during the coronavirus health crisis for comments made by himself and his wife that were construed as supporting the often-debunked “anti-vax” movement, in which he expressed his hesitancy at being compelled to take a hypothetical Covid-19 vaccine if and when it is developed.
However, new ATP rules may mandate that professional players must receive a vaccine if they are to take part in its tours. This was emphasized by his rival Rafael Nadal.
“Djokovic will have to be vaccinated if he wants to keep playing tennis at the top level. The same for me,” Nadal said.
“Everyone will have to follow the rules, just like now we have to stay at home. If the ATP or the International Tennis Federation obligates us to take the vaccine to play tennis, then we will have to do it.
“It’s about following the rules, nothing more than that.”