Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic said Friday he was donating one million euros ($1.1 million) to help his native Serbia buy respirators and other gear to combat the coronavirus.
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Dear friends, this is a video from the press conference my wife @jelenadjokovicndf and I hosted this afternoon to announce that we donated 1 million euros through our @novakfoundation to Serbia for the purchase of medical equipment and supplies. We have spent the past several weeks gathering every piece of necessary information on COVID-19 in order to make this informed decision on how my family could make the biggest and best impact on our country. People from the Republic of China have given us tremendous help and support, we cannot thank them enough. I keep receiving calls from all over the world and people want to help but don’t know where or how. We have decided to open an emergency account through Novak Djokovic Foundation where our family money will go and I’m directing any other person that wishes to help to donate there. All the money will go towards the purchase of respirators, medical equipment, and any required supplies like masks. I am fully aware of how much this crisis has impacted everyone on all fronts.. I am touched by the generosity that keeps pouring from across the globe with the intention to give back and help in Serbia. I am very proud to be an athlete in these times, among many greats who have come forward to bring people together at a time when we are apart – to bring hope, community, and inspire others in the same way to use our platforms for good. This is what life is all about – giving. For more information, please visit @novakfoundation and novakdjokovicfoundation.org. Our team is here to help. Stay positive, we will get through this together 🙏🏼❤️. Much love to all, Novak
The player was speaking in a video conference from the southern Spanish city of Marbella, where he and his family are currently hunkering down under nationwide lockdown orders.
“Our donation is for the purchase of life-saving respirators and other sanitary equipment,” said the tennis star.
Normally based in Monaco, the family’s stay in Spain is “a pure coincidence”, according to his spokesperson.
The 32-year-old said he was working on keeping a “positive spirit” and enjoying the family time with the tennis season thrown into chaos by the pandemic.
The men’s ATP and women’s WTA Tours have been suspended until June 7, with the French Open postponed and Wimbledon facing possible postponement or even cancellation.
“I don’t remember spending so much time with my family since I became a father,” added Djokovic, who declined to discuss tennis matters and told reporters he was passing time by reading a book on the “history of the Serbs”.
He also said he plans to start “posting physical exercises I do in our apartment on social networks”.
Djokovic thanked China for sending several shipments of medical equipment and doctors to Serbia, where they are now helping guide Belgrade’s COVID-19 strategy.
Seven people have died and more than 450 are known to be infected with the respiratory disease among Serbia’s seven million population, according to authorities.
“I thank China from the bottom of my heart on behalf of myself and the entire nation,” he said.