Novak Djokovic admitted on Wednesday that he made “mistakes” in filling out his entry form for Australia and in his behavior after testing positive for Covid-19 in December, while his participation in the Australian Open is still in progress. suspense.
In a message posted on Instagram, the world tennis number one, unvaccinated, said his team had provided additional information to Australian authorities, who are considering revoking his visa and deporting him. “We live in difficult times in the context of a global pandemic, and sometimes mistakes do occur,” pleaded Djokovic, who is currently training for the Australian Open from Monday.
Imbroglio on his positive test
The 34-year-old was seen in public in Belgrade the day after December 16, when he tested positive, according to information he provided to Australian immigration officials. Claiming to be the victim of “misinformation” which he considers “very hurtful” for his family, he explained that when he appeared in public on December 17, he had not yet received the result of his test, carried out the test. day before.
Novak Djokovic arrived in Australia last week, claiming an exemption from vaccination against Covid-19 due to a positive test dated December 16. After a negative antigen test carried out on December 16 in parallel with the PCR test, he participated, on the 17th, in the launch of a stamp bearing his effigy in Serbia and in a meeting with young tennis players.
Photos published by the Serbian Tennis Federation show Djokovic with officials of this federation and about 20 teenagers, all without masks. The player claims to have carried out a second antigenic test, also negative, before this meeting.
“Error of judgment”
“I had no symptoms and felt fine, and had not received notification of the positive PCR test until the end of this event,” he explains. Djokovic recognizes on the other hand an “error of judgment”, that of having received, then asymptomatic patient, journalists of the French daily The team for an interview.
“I felt compelled to continue and to do the interview with The team because I did not want to let down the journalist, but I made sure to respect social distancing and to wear a mask, except when my portrait was done ”, he explained. “On reflection, it was an error in judgment and I admit that I should have postponed this engagement”.
The Djoker also pleads “human error” to have ticked the wrong box in the entry form to Australia. This form has been widely circulated by Australian media, and shows that the player has checked the box stating that he has not traveled in the 14 days prior to arriving in Australia on January 5th. However, the player was, during these two weeks, in Serbia then in Spain.
This statement “was submitted by my team on my behalf,” Djokovic wrote on Instagram. “My agent sincerely apologizes for this administrative error in checking the wrong box regarding my trips prior to my arrival in Australia. It was human error and certainly not deliberate ”. The player goes back the timeline of the case and explains having done a PCR test on December 16 because he had attended a basketball match in Belgrade the day before with several people who then tested positive.
The government can always act
Djokovic’s participation in the Australian Open, which starts on January 17, remains on the table. Returned to Melbourne Airport after his visa was canceled on January 5, Djokovic was placed in a detention center with a view to his deportation, but a judge ruled in his favor on January 10 and ordered his immediate release . Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, however, said on Tuesday that he was considering revoking Djokovic’s visa again using his discretionary powers.
According to lawyer Christopher Levingston, an expert on immigration issues in Australia, the government has the option of rescinding the visa on the grounds that a criminal offense has been committed, for example by making a false entry declaration.