Serbian officials shoot down ugly claims against Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic (pictured) looking at his players box during a match.
Serbian officials have denied reports Novak Djokovic's (pictured) Covid-19 results were fake.(Getty Images)

Serbian officials have denied reports Novak Djokovic's Covid-19 results were fake to allow the World No.1 tennis player to enter Melbourne for the 2022 Australian Open.

The controversy started when Djokovic attempted to enter Australia on a medical exemption, after he claimed he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16 last year.

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A number of publications around the world, including German outlet Der Spiegel and the BBC, have reported discrepancies between the serial numbers on Djokovic's Covid-19 results.

Investigations 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.

However, the Serbian state's prosecution office said in a statement on Wednesday that it had received a request for criminal proceedings against unnamed individuals who allegedly forged two PCR certificates, which were later used by Djokovic to apply for a medical exemption from vaccination when entering Australia.

"The prosecution acted according to the regulations, checks were performed, and it was determined that Novak Djokovic was tested several times and that the certificates on the test results from December 16, 2021 and December 22, 2021 are valid," the statement said.

Novak Djokovic (pictured) attends a practice session ahead of the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) was deported from Australia after his visa was revoked. (Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)

John McEnroe calls for Novak Djokovic answers

Earlier, tennis great John McEnroe had called for more answers from Djokovic over the unusual circumstances that unfolded in Australia before his deportation.

McEnroe asked why the state officials wouldn't come out and clarify the reports around Djokovic's PCR tests and put the rumours to bed.

“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.

The alleged claims on the Covid-19 results wasn't the only drama unfolding with Djokovic.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (pictured) walks surrounded by fans in the coastal city of Budva on January 28, 2022.
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (pictured) walks surrounded by fans in the coastal city of Budva on January 28, 2022. (Photo by SAVO PRELEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

The World No.1 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.”

with AAP

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