Careless Djokovic admits breaking isolation despite knowing Covid result

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Novak Djokovic has admitted to breaking Covid isolation rules before he travelled to Australia for the Australian Open.

The World No.1 is locked in a battle with the Australian authorities to keep his visa after being handed a medical exemption.

After a stand-off at the airport, Djokovic was initially kept in a "hellhole" hotel and was denied his visa.

But the Serb appealed the decision last week and won in a hearing that took place on Monday.

As part of the hearing, Djokovic revealed he had tested positive for Covid last month, but it has since emerged Djokovic didn't follow the isolation protocol.

The Serbian had been accused of testing positive before attending an event with children and an interview with French outlet L'Equipe.

Djokovic said in a statement: “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.

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"I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on Dec 14 after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with Covid.

"Despite having no Covid symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on Dec 16 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 the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event.

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“The next day, on Dec 18 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.

“I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the 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 I should have rescheduled this commitment."

Djokovic then spoke about his travel documents: “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.

“While I felt it was important to address and clarify misinformation I will not be making any further comment out of utmost respect for the Australian Government 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.”

  • Novak Djokovic
  • Tennis

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