Ivanizevic positive for coronavirus, days after Djokovic event

Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, right, is part of world number one Novak Djokovic’s coaching team. (AP)
Updated 26 June 2020

Ivanizevic positive for coronavirus, days after Djokovic event

  • ‘Unfortunately ... I have just found out that I tested positive to Covid-19’
  • Goran Ivanizevic is part of world number one Novak Djokovic’s coaching team

ZAGREB: Croatia’s former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanizevic said Friday he has tested positive for coronavirus just days after attending an exhibition tournament organized by world number one Novak Djokovic, whom he coaches.
“Unfortunately ... I have just found out that I tested positive to Covid-19,” Ivanizevic said on Instagram.
“I feel good and I don’t have any symptoms,” the 48-year-old Croat said and asked everyone who has been in close contact with him to take good care of themselves and their loved ones.
“I will continue to self-isolate,” said Ivanizevic, adding that he had tested negative twice in the past 10 days.
Ivanizevic is part of world number one Djokovic’s coaching team and was the director of the now-abandoned Adria Tour which led to several top players becoming infected with coronavirus.
Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki all tested positive after taking part in the second leg of the event held in Zadar, on Croatia’s Adriatic coast, last Sunday.
Players had embraced across the net, played basketball and even danced in a nightclub the week in the first leg played in Belgrade.
Djokovic was widely criticized for hosting the charity tournament.
On Tuesday he issued an unstinting apology for the now-canceled Adria Tour, where social distancing was minimal and matches were played in front of thousands of fans.
The 33-year-old Serbian has said he is “so deeply sorry” that the tournament “caused harm.”
His wife Jelena has also tested positive after the couple traveled back from Croatia to Belgrade to be tested.
Ivanizevic strongly defended Djokovic after the tournament.
“Everyone is so smart now and many attack Novak, it is rather popular,” he told local media this week.
The Croat argued Djokovic “tried to make something big, something with a charitable character after we were all locked up for three months.”
Manchester United’s Serbian player Nemanja Matic also defended Djokovic, saying in an open letter on Thursday the world number one was the “cat” who will chase away the “mice.”

Gattuso puts Napoli ‘on the path to victory against Barcelona’

Updated 21 min 22 sec ago

Gattuso puts Napoli ‘on the path to victory against Barcelona’

  • We certainly want to write an important page in our history, says club’s head coach

MILAN, Italy: Gennaro Gattuso’s reign as Napoli coach may have started amid turmoil but the former Italy international has put the Serie A club on the path toward a potential Champions League triumph against Barcelona.

The southern Italians head for the Camp Nou on Saturday with a first ever Champions League quarter-final berth beckoning.

“We certainly want to write an important page in our history,” said Gattuso of a feat which not even Argentine legend Diego Maradona managed to achieve with the club.

Both sides are 1-1 after the last 16, first leg in the San Paulo Stadium in February.

But Lionel Messi’s Spaniards have not been beaten at home in the Champions League in seven years as they target a 13th consecutive quarterfinal berth.

Barcelona finished second in La Liga while Napoli were seventh in Serie A, but having secured a Europa League spot thanks to their Italian Cup victory.

Gattuso admitted his “head was already on Barcelona” as his side wrapped up their league season with a 3-1 win over Lazio last weekend.

“We will play on a high-level stage and we want to be worthy of it,” he said.

“We know that if we want to compete against Barcelona we will have to take risks.”

The big question will be how to stop six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, a problem which former AC Milan midfielder Gattuso would have happily tackled as a player.

“I can mark Messi only in my dreams, or on my son’s PlayStation,” said the 42-year-old former Glasgow Rangers player, who won two Champions League titles with AC Milan.

“We are ready to face Barcelona. We have our style, we are prepared. But they have one player named Messi who can leave 10 players behind.”

As a player, Gattuso had a fiery reputation, with a dogged never-say-die attitude.

In Naples, more than rage he has brought calm to a locker room traumatized after a disastrous first half of the season under Carlo Ancelotti, his former coach in Milan.

This despite sparse coaching credentials, coming through Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete, Pisa and his beloved Milan before arriving in Naples. He was harshly judged after his 18 months at AC Milan despite their fifth-place finish last season, missing out on the Champions League by one point.

But his successor Marco Giampaolo was sacked after just seven matches.

“It’s a profession that cannot be learned from books but by getting knocked in the teeth. I have had a few failures and will have many more,” said Gattuso.

Since the end of January, and after a difficult start to life in Naples with the team plunging to 13th position and Gattuso facing ridicule, the team have been reborn.

He has given confidence back to players including Lorenzo Insigne, Nikola Maksimovic and Kalidou Koulibaly.

His reputation as a 2006 World Cup star and two-time Champions League and Serie A winner holds weight in the locker room, along with his straight talking style, and work ethic.

“(Gattuso) Rino is the most respected coach in the dressing room since I have been here,” said Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Gattuso’s first trophy came in the Italian Cup just days after the death of his younger sister.

Napoli won a dramatic penalty shootout against Juventus in Rome for their first trophy in six years — a feat not achieved under Gattuso’s predecessors Maurizio Sarri and Ancelotti.