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Photo: Milos Miskov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked tennis player, announced Tuesday that he tested positive for coronavirus after facing widespread criticism for organizing an exhibition tournament that also left other players and coaches infected.

Why it matters: The fallout highlights the difficulty in returning to sports in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic — even in relatively distanced sports, like singles tennis — if safety protocols aren't strictly implemented and followed.

The state of play: The Adria Tour, organized by Djokovic across his native Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia, not only had the athletes in close contact with each other — including partying on nights out — but also featured big crowds and mingling with fans, the New York Times reports.

  • Bruno Soares, a member of the ATP Player Council, called the tournament "a horror show." He added that it showed "enormous irresponsibility and huge immaturity. They were totally careless, and it’s difficult for me to find the words."
  • Djokovic has also courted controversy by questioning the necessity of a coronavirus vaccine — and whether he would ultimately choose to receive one if developed.

Other players infected:

  • Grigor Dimitrov
  • Borna Coric
  • Viktor Troicki
  • Dimitrov's coach and Djokovic's fitness coach also tested positive.

What he's saying, per a press release: "Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament was meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region."

  • "I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone's health situation."

The big picture: The U.S. Open announced last week that it would be played in New York in August and September — but without spectators and featuring robust health precautions.

Go deeper

Oct 1, 2020 - Health

Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021

A laboratory technician preparing a blood sample for a vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said Wednesday that his company's coronavirus vaccine won't be available for widespread distribution until at least spring 2021, according to Financial Times.

Why it matters: Bancel told FT that the drugmaker will not seek emergency authorization for FDA approval for its vaccine for front-line medical workers and at-risk individuals until Nov. 25 at the earliest.

CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S.

Cruise Ships docked in April at the port at Marina Long Beach due to a no-sail order in Long Beach, in California. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

There have been at least 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like illness cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters, "in addition to at least 41 reported deaths," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Wednesday.

Driving the news: The CDC released the data from the period of March 1 through Sept. 29 in an emailed statement confirming the extension of a no-sail order for cruise ships through Oct. 31, as first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan on Tuesday in his article revealing CDC director Robert Redfield was overruled in a push to extend the order into 2021.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.