Novak Djokovic tested positive: a timeline of what happened next

In an interview room at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, an Australian immigration officer sat across from the tennis star Novak Djokovi...


In an interview room at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, an Australian immigration officer sat across from the tennis star Novak Djokovic.

The officer began with a warning.

“I will now warn you,” the officer said, according to a public transcript which both parties agreed to be accurate, “that if you provide false or forged documents or false or misleading information, you can be sued under Australian laws. “

Even before his plane landed in Melbourne last Wednesday evening, Djokovic’s visa application to play at next week’s Australian Open was under consideration, and questions have arisen as to whether he would be allowed to enter the country. The answer, at least initially, was no. Australia, which requires all foreign visitors to be vaccinated, but grants exemptions in limited cases, canceled Djokovic’s visa after his interview at the airport, only to have a judge reinstate him Monday for procedural reasons.

“It’s his biggest victory, bigger than any Grand Slam he has won,” his mother, Dijana, said at a press conference Monday in Belgrade, Serbia.

On Wednesday, however, as Australia’s top immigration official considered rejecting Djokovic’s visa again and his PM calculated the political cost of the struggle, Djokovic posted a statement on his Instagram account attempting to explain why he repeatedly appeared without a mask at public events after believing he had been exposed to the coronavirus, and for two days after a test confirmed that he was positive.

The statement came days after reports were published, and Djokovic’s own social media posts raised questions about the validity of his visa documents and his actions around December 16, when, according to his account, he had tested positive for coronavirus. Djokovic called the reports of his movements “disinformation” even though he confirmed they were correct.

Even the positive test result, which is central to the medical exemption Djokovic was required to obtain to play at the Australian Open, has since been called into question by a published report.

Monday, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that he had scanned the unique computer code attached to Djokovic’s test result – which was included in court records related to his visa appeal – and found that he initially reported that the test was negative for the virus. But just over an hour later, when reporters from Der Spiegel and others checked the code again, the linked webpage said Djokovic’s test was positive. This was still the case on Tuesday morning.

Confusion over Djokovic’s test result, however, only renewed questions about his actions, and false statements about his trip during the time he tested positive.

If Djokovic did indeed test positive on December 16, then his actions in the days that followed – when he should have isolated himself – could have endangered the health and safety of dozens of people. On the day of his test and the two that followed, for example, Djokovic’s own posts on social media and contemporary accounts show him repeatedly appearing at public events without a mask and around children and strangers. even after registering a positive test.

To obtain a visa to enter Australia, Djokovic and his lawyers submitted documents indicating that he had tested positive for the coronavirus on December 16. He cited the positive result when interviewed by Australian border force officials upon his arrival in Melbourne.

Djokovic produced the Dec. 16 test result “uninvitedly,” the Australians said in a court file. A transcription of his interview, which was recorded, included the following exchange:

INTERVIEWER: Thank you. Have you ever had COVID?

DJOKOVIC: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: So when did you do it?

DJOKOVIC: I had COVID twice, I had COVID in June 2020, and I had COVID recently in – I tested positive – PCR – on December 16, 2021.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you. Sorry, what was the date? December 16?

DJOKOVIC: December 16, 2021, I also have the documents to confirm that if you wish, I can provide – just like a –

INTERVIEWER: Thank you. I’ll just make a photocopy of these documents –

The record also includes the time of the test, which was collected around 1 p.m. on December 16, and a positive result returned seven hours later. In his statement on Wednesday, Djokovic claimed he only learned of the positive result after attending an event at a tennis center on December 17 and two rapid antigen tests returned negative results.

The positive test result was used to justify Djokovic’s request for a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open, which requires all tournament participants to be vaccinated but which grants several exemptions to the rule.

January 4, Djokovic announcement on his Instagram account that he had received the exemption he needed. Beside a smiling photo, he said he was heading to Australia.

It was what he had done in the days following his positive test, however, which now threatened to cause him problems.

On December 16, the day Djokovic requested a test for the virus, Djokovic was honored with a stamp by the Serbian postal service and visited its facilities. In photos of the event, Djokovic appears with the acting director of the Serbian postal service, Zoran Dordevic.

Djokovic also participated in an hour-long panel discussion that day at a tennis center that bears his name. The subject? “The role and establishment of authority in the development of character and discipline. “

A day later, Djokovic appeared at an event to honor young tennis players at the tennis center. None of the dozens of people in a group photo of the ceremony, whose Djokovic, whose positive test result was confirmed a night earlier, was wearing a mask.

In his statement, Djokovic said he had a negative rapid antigen test before this event and only learned of his positive polymerase chain reaction test afterwards.

The next day, however, on December 18, Djokovic participated in a Photo shoot with the French sports publication L’Equipe. Djokovic said on Wednesday that he canceled all other obligations outside of the interview that day after learning of his positive test. He also said he was socially distanced and wore a mask except in photographs, although he admitted he regretted keeping the interview as planned.

“While I returned home after the interview to isolate myself for the required period, after reflection, it was an error in judgment and I accept that I should have postponed this engagement,” he said written on Instagram.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that if Djokovic had attended any events after learning he was certain he would have “clearly broken the rules”.

Djokovic, who confirmed in his airport interview last week that he was not vaccinated, said he would not comment further. Monday, he declared himself “happy and grateful”About the decision of the visa judge, and he’s clearly planning to stay in Australia, where he is set to start his Australian Open title defense next week. He resumed the practice almost immediately after his release.

The Australian Minister for Immigration, meanwhile, continues to “carefully consider the matter”To deport him, and will surely assess whether Djokovic was truthful in his statements and on his visa papers.

As the officer noted during his first interview at the airport, however, providing false or misleading information could be considered a crime in Australia. Losing his visa again could prevent Djokovic from returning to Australia – and the first major tournament of the tennis season – for at least three years.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Novak Djokovic tested positive: a timeline of what happened next
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