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Novak Djokovic clears the air around his controversial December movements

Morena Mothupi

Novak Djokovic has sought to clarify things regarding his movements in December, which have raised some questions.

Djokovic has come under some scrutiny for allegedly moving around and attending events when he tested positive for Covid-19.

It has been reported that the men’s world number one tested positive for the virus on the 16th of December, but still went on to honour commitments on same day and again on the 17th.

The Serbian was seen at a prize giving event in Belgrade on the 17th, handing out trophies to young players and was not wearing a mask.

He has taken to his Instagram page to correct the reports circulating.

“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.

I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations.

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. 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.

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.

I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event.

The next day, on 18 December I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfill a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot, I cancelled all other events except for the L’Equipe interview.

I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct he L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down, but I did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.

While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that should have rescheduled this commitment.

On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team n my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival – and my agent sincerely apologies 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 mistake can occur. Today, my team has provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify this matter.

While I felt it was important to address and clarify misinformation I will not be making any further comment out of the utmost respect for the Australian Governement and their authorities and the current process.

It is always an honour and a privilege to play in the Australian Open. The Australian Open is much-loved by players, fans and the community, not just in Victoria and in Australia, but around the globe, and I just want to have the opportunity to compete against the best players in the world and perform before one of the best crowds in the world.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion is in Melbourne, preparing to compete in the Australian Open.

It’s yet to be seen whether the reigning Aussie Open champion will take part in the first Grand Slam of the year, because the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke holds the executive power to cancel his visa again.

Djokovic’s visa got cancelled upon his arrival in the country last Thursday, as it was said he did not meet the strict Covid-19 criteria. But he took the government to court and had the cancellation overturned on Monday, with his medical exemption from vaccination deemed sufficient by Judge Anthony Kelly.

The Australian Open gets under way on the 17th of January.

Written by: Morena Mothupi



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