Serbia’s Novak Djokovic admitted to errors in his Australian travel papers and outlined an “administrative mistake” made by his agent after stating that he did not travel in the two weeks before his flight to Australia.
In a statement released on Wednesday, he also acknowledged an “error of judgment” by not isolating after he tested positive for COVID-19.
The statement reads as follows:
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.
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.
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 fulfill 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 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.
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.
Djokovic was denied entry to Australia and his visa was revoked following backlash over a vaccine exemption, which sparked mixed reactions around the world.
In a 35-page document court document, his lawyers said the 34-year-old had a vaccine exemption to enter Australia after a positive PCR test on December 16. Djokovic was in an immigration detention centre ahead of a court case on Monday.