New Delhi: Tennis player Novak Djokovic on Wednesday issued a statement responding to the ‘misinformation’ on his travel declaration to enter Australia and his attendance in the sporting events in December despite being infected with COVID-19.
The unvaccinated Serbian player, who is currently in Melbourne for the Australian Open on Wednesday said that he wanted to address matters of “misinformation” that are very concerning and hurtful to his family.
World number one men’s singles tennis player Novak Djokovic on Wednesday admitted that he conducted an in-person media interview and photoshoot in December despite knowing the fact that he was COVID-19 positive.
The Serbian player who took the ‘official and approved’ PCR test on December 16 also revealed that he had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after attending a tennis event in Belgrade on December 17 where he presented awards to the children.
On the aforementioned days, the Serbian also did a rapid antigen test, which both times tested negative. After knowing the COVID positive result, Djokovic on December 18 at his tennis centre in Belgrade fulfilled a ‘long-standing commitment’ for a media interview and photoshoot for a French daily.
However, Djokovic has now conceded that giving an interview was an ‘error of judgement’ and accepted that he should have rescheduled this commitment.
Taking to Instagram, Djokovic on Wednesday wrote, “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.”
“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,” he added.
“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 the 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 fulfil a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events except for the L’Equipe interview,” Djokovic revealed.
“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. 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 I should have rescheduled this commitment,” the twenty-time Grand Slam winner said.
Tennis star also opened up about his travel declaration as he said, “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 apologises 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 mistakes can occur. Today, my team has provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify this matter,” he added.
Djokovic also added that he will not be making any further comment out of utmost respect for the Australian Government and their authorities and the current process.
(With inputs from ANI)