'Can't believe this': Novak Djokovic eviscerated over 'pathetic' admission

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·Sports Reporter
·6-min read
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Novak Djokovic (pictured right) disappointed during Wimbledon and (pictured left) posing for a photo with children.
Novak Djokovic (pictured right) has faced public backlash over his statement in which he attempted to clarify 'misinformation' over his public appearances (pictured left) days after he tested for Covid-19. (Images: instagram/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has been widely panned for his bombshell statement in which he admitted to an 'error of judgement' when conducting a photoshoot while Covid-19 positive.

Djokovic has faced intense scrutiny over his Covid-19 result on December 16, which he used to gain a medical exemption to play the Australian Open.

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The 34-year-old was spotted at a number of public events on the 17th and 18th of December while not wearing a mask, with many questioning why he wasn't in isolation.

One such event was at French publication L'Equipe where he posed for a photo shoot.

On Wednesday, Djokovic released a statement in an attempt to clarify 'misinformation' around the events.

While Djokovic admitted he hadn't received the results of his PCR Test on the 17th of December, he had by December 18.

He admitted to an 'error of judgement' in attending the L'Equipe photoshoot.

However, the statement has only moved to enrage the tennis and Australian public.

The tennis world has ripped into Djokovic and some questioned whether it gave the Immigration Minister more ammunition to use executive powers to deport Djokovic

Immigration Minster Alex Hawke is still weighing up whether or not to use his discretionary powers to deport Djokovic, which was delayed on Wednesday.

Djokovic said he returned a negative rapid antigen test on the 17th before attending an event at his academy in Belgrade.

However he admitted he conducted an interview with French magazine L'Equipe on the 18th after finding out he was positive.

"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," he said.

"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 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 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, upon reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment," he said.

Novak Djokovic addresses travel declaration 'mistake'

This wasn't the only issue raised in the statement.

The 20-time grand slam champion also moved to clarify an issue with his travel declaration after some claimed he 'lied' when filling out the form.

Djokovic answered "no" to a question about whether he had travelled in the 14 days before his arrival in Australia.

However he was filmed playing tennis in the streets of the Serbian capital Belgrade on Christmas Day and training in Spain on December 31 - both within the 14-day window.

"On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf - as I told the 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."

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