Novak Djokovic recently posted a statement on social media, explaining the events surrounding a PCR test he took on 16 December. Djokovic admitted he attended a photoshoot organized by L'Equipe despite knowing he had COVID-19.
Djokovic was initially granted a vaccine exemption to play at the Australian Open. But after his arrival in Melbourne last Wednesday, Djokovic was detained by Border Force officials, following which his visa was revoked. The Serb's lawyers subsequently filed for an injunction on his visa cancelation and on Monday the judge ruled in favor of Djokovic.
According to papers submitted to the court, Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 on 16 December. But the Serb was spotted attending several public events between 16 and 22 December, including a photoshoot organized by L'Equipe on 18 December at the Novak Tennis Center.
Against that background, Djokovic released a statement clarifying the timeline of events.
Djokovic began by emphasizing that he takes public health and safety very seriously before disclosing that he most likely caught the virus while attending a basketball game in Belgrade on 14 December.
The Serb, however, claimed that he was asymptomatic after taking a rapid antigen test on 16 December, following which he took a PCR test on the same day.
"I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on 14 December after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with COVID 19," Novak Djokovic wrote on his Instagram handle. "Despite having no COVID symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on 16 December which was negative, and out of an abundance of caution, also took an official and approved PCR test on that same day."
Djokovic further revealed that he was notified about his positive PCR test on 17 December, when he attended an award ceremony for young tennis players at his academy in Belgrade on 17 December.
"The next day 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," Djokovic wrote. "I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event."
However, the report Djokovic submitted in court shows that the Serb had tested positive on 16 December.
The Serb also revealed that he felt "obliged to go ahead" with the L'Equipe interview since it was a "long-standing commitment".
Djokovic did add, however, that he made sure to wear a mask and maintain social distancing during the photoshoot.
"On 18 December I was at my tennis center in Belgrade to fulfill a long-standing commitment for a L'Equipe interview and photoshoot. I canceled all other events except for the L'Equipe interview. 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."
Novak Djokovic admitted he made an error in judgment by not isolating himself following his positive PCR test.
"While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error in judgment and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment," Djokovic wrote.
"This was a human error and certainly not deliberate" - Novak Djokovic on the error in his visa appplication
Djokovic also tried clearing the air on his visa fiasco towards the end of his statement. The Border Forces detained Djokovic last week on the grounds that he had filed for the "wrong type of visa".
The box checked on Djokovic's visa was against the declaration that the Serb had not or would not travel in the two weeks before he flew to Australia. However, the papers submitted by him in court state that he traveled to Australia from Spain.
The Serb insisted that his agent "ticked the incorrect box" by mistake, while also asserting that his team had provided "additional information" to the federal government since then.
"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," Djokovic said.
"We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur. Today, my team has provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify this matter."