Novak Djokovic returned to the court on Monday, getting some practice in after the COVID-19 pandemic forced him and everyone else in Spain into a lockdown for weeks.
There was just one problem.
It appears that Djokovic violated confinement rules in Spain by doing so.
Djokovic, the No. 1 player in the world, posted a video to Instagram of him playing at a tennis club in Marbella, Spain — where he has reportedly stayed during the outbreak.
“So happy to play on clay … well, just for a bit with my phone in my hands,” he wrote, in part.
Spain was hit extremely hard by the coronavirus, and had very strict lockdown rules as a result. The country had more than 218,000 confirmed cases as of Monday afternoon, according to The New York Times, the second-most among any country behind only the United States. Spain had more than 25,000 deaths attributed to the virus, too.
Spain, per the Associated Press, loosened some of those lockdown rules on Monday, part of which allowed professional athletes return to practice. The Spanish tennis federation said Monday that players are allowed to train by themselves or with a coach, but can’t do so on a tennis court. Djokovic, clearly, didn’t follow that rule.
It’s unclear if he will be subject to any punishment.
The Serbian star said last month on a Facebook live chat that he was “opposed to vaccination,” and didn’t “want to be forced” to take a coronavirus vaccine in order to travel or compete in tournaments when the season resumes. The AP reports he later said he was open to changing his stance. While his originally stated views on vaccinations don’t line up with scientific and medical evidence — there is no link between vaccines and long-term health problems or autism — deciding on a coronavirus vaccine probably isn’t something Djokovic will have to deal with for a while. A vaccine for the virus isn’t expected until early next year, at best.
The tennis world has slowly been returning to normal, or planning to in recent days. Several new exhibition matches and tournaments have been set up at sites worldwide, though there is still no plan for the ATP and WTA to resume play.
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