Novak Djokovic on Wednesday admitted an “error” in his travel letter and his decision not to self-isolate after being diagnosed with the coronavirus. This was revealed when he was struggling to stay in Australia to still be able to compete in the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament where he had a mission to win his 21st Grand Slam title.
The world number one said his team had offered new information to the Australian government, which was considering whether to cancel his visa, again, and deport him from the country.
“We live in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes mistakes can happen,” the 34-year-old, who was not vaccinated, said in a statement released as he trains on court at the Australian Open, which begins Monday.
The Serbian star flew to Melbourne a week ago and has claimed an exemption from Australia’s vaccine obligation because his PCR test result tested positive on December 16.
The border agency denied his release saying the reason for his recent COVID-19 infection was ineligible. The officer even tore up his visa and put him in a detention center.
But Djokovic’s strong legal team who are skeptical of vaccines dramatically overturned a visa decision in court Monday on procedural issues related to airport staff interviews.
Now, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke says he is considering canceling the visa at another time, as new doubts arise.
Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, described reports of his post-infection performance in Serbia as “misinformation.”
The day after testing positive in Serbia, Djokovic appeared at a youth tennis event and at the launch of a postage stamp featuring his image as part of the tennis player’s tribute. In both events, Djokovic was seen performing without wearing a mask
Djokovic admitted that he only received the results of the PCR test after participating in children’s tennis.
But he admitted that he also resumed interviews and photo shoots with French sports newspaper L’Equipe on December 18.
“I feel obligated to go ahead and do L’Equipe interviews because I don’t want to disappoint journalists but make sure I keep my distance and wear a mask except when my photo is taken,” she said.
“As a reflection, this was a misjudgment and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.”
The tennis athlete also admitted an error in her travel statement to Australia, where a box was ticked indicating that she had not, or would not have, traveled within the 14 days prior to flying to Melbourne.
In fact, social media posts and reports show him flying from Serbia to Spain during that period.
“This was conveyed by my support team on my behalf,” said Djokovic.
“My agent sincerely apologizes for the administrative error of ticking the wrong box about my previous trip before coming to Australia. This was a human error and certainly not intentional.”
Meanwhile, Australian media on Wednesday (12/1) caught a report by German newspaper Der Siegel that cast doubt on the tennis star’s positive test.
Der Spiegel said he had scanned the QR code on Djokovic’s Serbian PCR test, which was said to have given a negative result, but a different result was obtained an hour later with the scan showing a positive result.
Der Spiegel’s report could not be independently verified, and Djokovic did not refer to the specific matter on Wednesday (12/1). [ah/rs]