Tennis legend John McEnroe has demanded answers from mens World No.1 Novak Djokovic, after reports cast further doubt over the PCR test results that were submitted to the Federal Court prior the Australian Open.
As part of his appeal against his visa cancellation earlier in January, Djokovic submitted evidence stating he received a positive result on a PCR test on December 16, and that he was tested again on the 22nd.
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However further investigations from overseas media outlets, including the BBC and Germany's Der Spiegel, had found discrepancies in the confirmation codes attached to Djokovic's PCR test results.
His December 16 test had the code 7371999 associated with it, compared to the 7320919 code for the December 22 test - indicating that the second swab was chronologically taken before the first.
The BBC cross-referenced the codes with more than 50 others, eventually concluding that the code from the December 16 test would likely have been generated nearly a week later.
Data and digital security specialist Djordje Krivokapic, who worked with the BBC on the story, said while the different codes could simply be a 'glitch', there was also the obvious possibility that Djokovic had misled authorities on when the first positive test was actually taken.
“But if that were the case, there would be a simple explanation. I don’t see why the state authorities wouldn’t just say that," he said.
Djokovic came under heavy scrutiny after it was revealed that he had tested positive in December, particularly after he attended an interview with French sports outlet L'Equipe while knowingly infectious, without telling the reporter or photographer.
Though he initially defended Djokovic as his court saga played out, McEnroe said he was dumbfounded by the revelations, saying he'd 'like to know' the truth from the world No.1.
“I’ll give you an example of something I don’t understand. Novak Djokovic, to me, is an extremely smart person. If he tested positive on – what date is it? – December 15th – I’m throwing in a date – why in the hell would he do an interview with a journalist on December 16th?
“That makes absolutely no sense to me. The guy’s not stupid. He’s smart. So, already, I’m like, ‘What?!’
“I mean, he wasn’t just sitting around going, ‘I hope I get Covid so I can get an exemption’. So that wasn’t happening.”
Australian Open boss defends communication with Novak Djokovic
After failed legal action the unvaccinated Serbian superstar was forced to leave Melbourne and return overseas before the start of the Australian Open, where he hoped to land a 10th title.
Tiley blamed miscommunication with the federal government and changing circumstances due to the Omicron COVID-19 variant on the Djokovic saga.
A letter in November from Health Minister Greg Hunt to Tiley clearly stated that a prior infection of COVID-19 would not be grounds for exemption from vaccination requirements for quarantine-free travel.
Tiley avoided directly answering questions about any changes to this information but the tournament director claimed there was a "lot of of contradiction".
"We were at the beginning of Omicron and that's why we were constantly seeking clarity and there was a lot of complexity and contradiction of information before, after and it continues to be all the way through," Tiley told the ABC on Sunday.
"One or two bits of communication doesn't define all the amounts of communication that continued to go on leading into the event.
"I think again it's important to know we have always tried to do the right thing."
There have also been reports Djokovic is preparing to sue the government for $6 million but Tiley denied this was the case.
"No," Tiley said.
"There is going to be lots of reports on different things, but we are in a position as we focus on delivering an event right now, and we will continue to deliver a great event."
He said an internal review would be conducted at the end of the tournament.
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