Startling detail in Novak Djokovic photos in first public appearance

Novak Djokovic, pictured here using the same spoon for communion as hundreds of other churchgoers in Serbia.
Novak Djokovic was seen using the same spoon for communion as hundreds of other churchgoers in Serbia. Image: Twitter/Getty

Novak Djokovic doesn't seem too keen on changing public perceptions about how he treats the Covid-19 pandemic.

Djokovic infamously hosted a charity tennis tournament in Serbia during the height of the pandemic in 2020, which resulted in a number of players - including himself and wife Jelena - contracting the virus.

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Earlier this month he admitted to conducting an interview and photoshoot in December when he knew he was positive for Covid-19.

He then had his visa cancelled and was deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open because of his refusal to get vaccinated.

But if he's trying to convince the public that he's taking the pandemic seriously, you certainly can't tell.

This week, the tennis star made his first public appearances since being kicked out of Australia.

Several hundred people cheered outside the municipal building in the small Adriatic town of Budva in Montenegro on Friday as Djokovic arrived to receive a plaque declaring him an honorary citizen of the town.

Top local official Marko Carevic also presented Djokovic with an Orthodox Christian icon, expressing gratitude for helping "preserve the Serbian people and the Serbian church in Montenegro."

Novak Djokovic and Marko Carevic, pictured here after he was declared an honorary citizen of Budva.
Novak Djokovic and mayor Marko Carevic pose for a photograph after he was declared an honorary citizen of Budva. (Photo by SAVO PRELEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

Djokovic is adored in his native Serbia and among the Serbs in neighbouring Montenegro, a small nation of some 620,000 people.

Since he returned home, the 20-time grand slam champion has been seen visiting churches and attending liturgies in both Serbia and Montenegro.

However photos on social media show Djokovic not wearing a mask at times while walking through huge crowds in Budya, as well as kissing Carevic and other officials on the cheek.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here surrounded by fans in the coastal city of Budva in Montenegro.
Novak Djokovic surrounded by fans in the coastal city of Budva in Montenegro. (Photo by SAVO PRELEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

At other times he was wearing a mask, but it wasn't always covering his nose.

He was also seen taking communion from Serbian Patriarch Porfirije on an Orthodox Christian holiday, using the same spoon as hundreds of other believers at a church in Belgrade.

Social media users pointed out the not-so-Covid-safe practices being displayed by Djokovic.

Fresh doubts about timing of Djokovic's positive test

Meanwhile, fresh suspicions have been raised about the positive Covid-19 test Djokovic used to try to compete at the Australian Open.

The BBC on Friday reported discrepancies in the serial numbers of tests that Serbian authorities administered to Djokovic in the days prior to his trip to Australia, suggesting possible irregularities in the way they were issued.

Djokovic's media team and the Institute of Public Health in Serbia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Senior Serbian health officials have previously said that Djokovic's test was valid and issued by a relevant institution.

Djokovic was deported from Australia and barred from playing in the Australian Open earlier this month after a 11-day visa saga on the eve of the tournament.

To enter Australia, Djokovic submitted a positive Covid test issued in Serbia from December 16 for a visa exemption on the grounds that he had contracted the virus prior to the tournament.

The 34-year-old is not vaccinated and the Australian government later decided to cancel his visa and deport him, saying his presence in Australia could stir anti-vaccination sentiments.

Djokovic has said he would make no public comments until the end of the Australian Open.

with agencies

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