'So much suffering': Novak Djokovic's generous donation to virus fight

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Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena are pictured on an Instagram video, where they announced a large donation to Serbian health authorities.
Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena took to Instagram Live to announce a $1.8 million (AUD) donation for the purchase of medical supplies in his native Serbia, to aid in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Instagram/@djokernole

Tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic has pledged one million euros ($A1.8 million) to buy ventilators and other medical equipment in his native Serbia, joining a list of other athletes in the fight against coronavirus.

The virus has brought sporting events around the world to a halt and killed more than 24,000 people.

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Rafael Nadal had called on Spanish athletes to help raise 11 million euros ($A20 million) to help fight the pandemic while Roger Federer contributed one million Swiss Francs ($A1.7 million) to vulnerable families in his native Switzerland.

"I wish to express my gratitude to all the medical staff across the world and in my native Serbia for helping everyone infected by the coronavirus," Djokovic told Serbian media over a video conference from Marbella, Spain.

"Unfortunately, more and more people are getting infected every day. My wife Jelena and I are putting together a plan how to best donate our resources to people in need.

"Our donation is one million euros for the purchase of ventilators and other medical equipment."

Serbia has reported 457 confirmed cases of coronavirus and seven deaths.

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Novak Djokovic enjoying unexpected break from tennis

Djokovic was in imperious form before the pandemic brought the tennis season to a halt with both the men's ATP Tour and the WTA Tour, which runs women's competitions, suspended till June 7.

The 32-year-old Serb has won 18 straight matches this season, lifting the ATP Cup with Serbia before a record-extending eighth Australian Open title in Melbourne and then a fifth title at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

With countries going into lengthy lockdowns to arrest the spread of the virus, Djokovic said he had enjoyed spending an extended amount of time with his family.

Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena, pictured here at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards.
Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

"The situation is very unpredictable,” he said.

“There is a lot of fear and panic and I understand that completely because there is so much suffering.

“My family and I are trying to stay as positive and high-spirited as possible in battling this impostor of a virus.”

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