Djokovic admits ‘error of judgment’ after positive Covid-19 test

Novak Djokovic

CANBERRA – World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic has acknowledged he made an “error of judgment” by not immediately isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

Djokovic on Wednesday posted a statement on social media to address “continuing misinformation” about his activities after testing positive for COVID-19 in December, said Xinhua.

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Australia’s federal circuit court on Monday overturned a decision by the Australian Border Force (ABF) to cancel Djokovic’s visa on the grounds that he did not meet the entry requirements amid the reported questions about the vaccine exemption that would have permitted him to enter.

Lawyers for Djokovic argued that he was granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia (TA) to travel to the country and compete in the Australian Open due to a coronavirus infection on Dec 16.

On Wednesday, Djokovic – who is favourite to win a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam in Melbourne – said he was unaware of a positive test when he undertook public appearances on Dec 17.

However, the 34-year-old who has won the Australian Open for a record nine times acknowledged he was aware he had tested positive before a media interview on Dec 18.

“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,” Djokovic wrote.

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

In his statement, Djokovic also said his agent who filled out the travel form made an “administrative mistake” in ticking the incorrect box about his previous travel before coming to Australia.

“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate,” he said.

“We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur.”

Djokovic was on Monday released from immigration detention in Melbourne and has begun warming up for the Australian Open, which starts on Jan 17 but could still be deported at the discretion of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

Hawke, who has the power to cancel anyone’s visa if he deems doing so is “in the public interest,” was expected to make an announcement on Wednesday but delayed his decision after receiving extra documents.

“Mr. Djokovic’s lawyers have recently provided lengthy further submissions and supporting documentation said to be relevant to the possible cancellation of Mr Djokovic’s visa,” a spokesperson for Hawke told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“Naturally, this will affect the timeframe for a decision.”