Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic pledged one million euros ($1.10 million) to help buy ventilators and other medical equipment in his native Serbia on March 27, joining a list of other athletes in the fight against coronavirus.
The virus, which emerged in China late last year, has brought sporting events around the world to a halt and killed more than 24,000 people.
Rafa Nadal had called on Spanish athletes to help raise 11 million euros ($12.13 million) to help fight the pandemic while Roger Federer contributed one million Swiss Francs ($1.04 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"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.
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."The situation is very unpredictable. 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," he said.