Virus hits tennis star in a major way
Tennis star Grigor Dimitrov has opened up about the devastating effects of COVID-19, admitting he's not ready to be competing against the best players in the world yet.
The Bulgarian contracted the virus after taking part in Novak Djokovic's widely-criticised Adria Tour, which saw a number of players - including the world No. 1 himself - become infected as social distancing restrictions were non-existent.
Dimitrov played in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in France this weekend but said he's still feeling the effects of his illness after returning a positive test more than a month ago.
"Clearly I'm not ready to compete at the highest level right now," Dimitrov told Tennis Majors.
"The movement is getting better, everything else is kind of going in the right direction but it's still not easy to recover.
"The virus was hard on me so I stayed home for about a month.
"I was not breathing well, was not feeling well. (I was) tired, you know, all the symptoms, had no taste, no smell. Everything you could possibly think of so it was no fun.
"In a way I'm lucky to be on the court right now.
"You don't know. One day I feel really well and I have four hours to be out but then all of a sudden I need to completely shut down and take a nap, or just rest."
Dimitrov said the mental battle of needing to self-isolate for so long is just as challenging as the physical effects of coronavirus.
"Of course (there are mental struggles). I mean, you're alone 20 days for about 24 hours … so of course a lot of things are going through your head," the world No. 19 said.
"It doesn't matter how mentally strong you are, I think as a person, an athlete or anything, it's inevitable to get some bad thoughts in your head so I had to deal with that too.
"This thing is real. If we take the right precautions and everybody is safe, things will get better quicker.
"But it's a strange time so you have to work not only on your physical but on your mental aspect as well."
Players didn't take precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the Adria Tour, as fans packed into stadiums and stars mingled with ballkids and sponsors at numerous promotional events.
Ironically, Dimitrov previously appeared in - and spruiked on his own social media channels - a campaign launched by the ATP encouraging people to take all necessary measures to protect against the spread of coronavirus.
"Do the five and stop the spread of coronavirus," Dimitrov said in a video accompanied by the tagline: "We're all in this together."
Originally published as Virus hits tennis star in a major way