Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, who was the first to test positive for the coronavirus during the ill-fated Adria Tour, has revealed details of his struggle with the COVID-19 infection, and said that he is still feeling its physical and mental effects.
Dimitrov, who has started playing again, said that it was hard on him and it was “no fun”.
“… Still not easy to recover. The virus was hard on me. I stayed home for about a month. I was not breathing well, I was not feeling well; tired. [I had] all the symptoms: no taste, no smell, everything you could think of. So it was no fun,” Dimitrov said as he spoke to Tennis Majors at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown at the Mouratoglou Academy in France.
The 29-year-old said that though he has resumed training, he is doubtful for the US Open next month. He said the experience has left him shaken, especially the isolation part.
“You’re alone for about 20 days for 24 hours. I spent over 5,000 hours by myself. A lot of things are going through your head. It doesn’t matter how mentally strong you are as a person or athlete, it’s inevitable to get some bad thoughts in your head. So I had to deal with that, too, and so has everybody else out there.
“That’s one of my biggest messages. We should not underestimate the power of the mental state that everybody is in. This thing is real. If we take the right precautions and everybody is safe, then things will get better quicker. But it’s a strange time.”
Dimitrov, played in the Serbian leg of the Adria Tour, contracted the virus after players ignored social distancing norms and were seen shaking hands at the net and partying together. World number one Novak Djokovic, who organised the charity event, also contracted the coronavirus, as did his wife Jelena, his coach Goran Ivanisevic, Croatian player Borna Coric and Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.