World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic releases a statement through social media addressing the events leading to his positive Covid-19 result and the public appearances in between, Wednesday.
Following the overturn of his visa revocation on procedural grounds by a federal court in Australia, controversy continues regarding Novak Djokovic’s public appearances in the days that follow his positive Covid-19 test result, including an event for young players at the Belgrade tennis federation.
In that regard, the Serbian wrote on social media Wednesday: “I want to address the continuing misinformation about my activities and attendance at events in December in the lead up to my positive PCR COVID test result.
“This is misinformation which needs to be corrected, particularly in the interest of alleviating broader concern in the community about my presence in Australia, and to address matters which are very hurtful and concerning to my family,” he remarked.
In addition, the 20-time grand slam champion went over his public appearances providing context to the events, which took place before and after the positive result.
“I want to emphasize that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations,” he said.
“I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on December, 14 after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with COVID-19. Despite having no COVID symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on December, 16 which was negative, and out of an abundance of caution also took an official and approved PCR test on that same day.
“The next day [December 17], I attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children and took a rapid antigen test before going to the event, and it was negative. I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event.”
Djokovic admits that the following day [December 18], he gave an interview for the French sports newspaper, L’Equipe, at his tennis center in Belgrade.
“I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.”
And acknowledges that “on reflection, this was an error of judgment, and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.”
According to court documents his lawyers disclosed and filed to the court, a positive Covid-19 test result was recorded by the Institute of Public Health of Serbia by mid-December.
“On December 16, 2021, I was tested and diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID),” the affidavit submitted to the Australian court mentions him asserting.
The questions raised extend to his travel declaration, a subject the Belgrade native explains as a “human error.”
“On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf - as I told immigration officials on my arrival - and my agent sincerely apologizes for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia.
“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate. We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic, and sometimes these mistakes can occur.”
The 34-year-old further stressed that his team had submitted additional information to the Australian Government to help clarify the subject in question.
Adding: “While I felt it was important to address and clarify misinformation, I will not be making any further comment out of utmost respect for the Australian Government and their authorities and the current process.”
The world’s top-ranked male tennis player could still face deportation as immigration minister, Alex Hawke, is yet evaluating the evidence provided by Djokovic’s team.
Since Australian judge, Anthony Kelly, reinstated his visa, released from five days of immigration detention, the nine-time Australian Open champion has been practicing at Melbourne Park, hoping to compete at the upcoming Australian Open.
The first major of the 2022 season runs from January 17-30.