MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked males’s tennis participant, stated on Wednesday that he had participated in an interview and a photograph shoot in his native Serbia even after testing optimistic for Covid-19, because the Australian authorities continued to research whether or not he needs to be deported as a danger to public well being.
Mr. Djokovic launched a press release on social media that he stated was supposed to “clarify misinformation” in regards to the weeks earlier than he arrived in Melbourne, the place he was detained by Australian border officers earlier than being ordered launched on Monday by a federal choose.
But the assertion didn’t totally resolve a variety of questions which have swirled over Mr. Djokovic’s quest to stay in Australia and search a report twenty first Grand Slam title. Among them are precisely when he realized of the optimistic check consequence, and how his journey paperwork got here to misstate that he had not traveled internationally within the 14 days earlier than his arrival in Australia.
Mr. Djokovic’s assertion got here as Australia’s immigration minister stated he was nonetheless contemplating whether or not to train his private powers to cancel Mr. Djokovic’s visa once more, and as immigration officers have been investigating the discrepancies within the paperwork Mr. Djokovic introduced as he tried to enter Australia final week with an exemption from a requirement for Covid-19 vaccinations.
That exemption was granted by Australian tennis officers on the idea of what Mr. Djokovic has stated was a Covid an infection he had in mid-December. He had come below criticism over photos on social media exhibiting him at occasions on the similar time he was supposedly contaminated with the coronavirus.
Mr. Djokovic stated on Instagram on Wednesday that he had taken a PCR check on Dec. 16 after some individuals at a basketball sport he had attended two days earlier examined optimistic for the coronavirus. Despite having no signs, he additionally took a speedy antigen check “out of an abundance of caution,” he stated, and it got here again unfavorable.
On Dec. 17, he stated, as he was awaiting his PCR consequence, he attended a tennis occasion in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, the place he introduced awards to youngsters. He stated that his PCR check didn’t come again optimistic till after that occasion.
On Dec. 18, he went forward with an interview and a photograph shoot with the French sports activities newspaper L’Equipe “to fulfill a longstanding commitment,” he stated.
“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 taken,” Mr. Djokovic stated.
“While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgment and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment,” he added.
It was not the primary time Mr. Djokovic has needed to apologize for dismissive actions he has taken through the pandemic. In mid-2020, because the virus raged in Europe and elsewhere, he held a tennis match after which he and a number of others examined optimistic.
While Mr. Djokovic stated in his assertion on Wednesday that he “had not received the notification of a positive PCR result” till Dec. 17 — after the occasion involving youngsters — paperwork he supplied to Australian officers as he tried to enter the nation stated that the consequence had been returned the day earlier than.
A duplicate of his medical certificates for his optimistic PCR check stated that the check was taken at 1:05 p.m. on Dec. 16 and that the optimistic consequence was returned at 8:19 on the identical day. In an affidavit supplied to an Australian courtroom, he stated, “On 16 December 2021, I was tested and diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID).” It was unclear when precisely he realized of his purported optimistic check.
The Novak Djokovic Standoff with Australia
The Serbian prime minister, Ana Brnabic, stated this week that had Mr. Djokovic identified that he was optimistic for the coronavirus earlier than attending the awards occasion on Dec. 17, he would have “clearly violated the rules” in Serbia.
But extra data was required, she added, saying, “I don’t know when he received the test result, when he read it.”
When requested what would occur if Mr. Djokovic was discovered to have breached quarantine guidelines, she stated the Serbian authorities would “deal with it.”
In his assertion, Mr. Djokovic additionally addressed questions in regards to the declaration he made on his visa paperwork that he had not traveled to every other international locations within the 14 days earlier than arriving in Australia. The paperwork warns of significant penalties for false solutions to the query.
His declaration had appeared to be contradicted by social media posts exhibiting him touring between Spain and Serbia. On Wednesday, he stated his agent had made an “administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box.”
“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate,” he added.
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