Novak Djokovic admits breaking isolation after testing positive for Covid

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 8:24 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 8:47 am
Novak Djokovic admitted breaking self-isolation rules while Covid positive (Photo: Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has admitted breaking self-isolation rules last month after testing positive for Covid-19.

The tennis star said he made an “error of judgement” by attending an interview with a French journalist the day after he tested positive.

Sign up to our daily Banbury Guardian Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In an Instagram post on Wednesday (11 January), the Serbian said: “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, on reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.”

False declaration on Australian travel form

Djokovic, 34, also admitted to making a false declaration on his travel form before entering Australia, where he is hoping to defend his Australian Open title next week.

Recent reports suggest the 34-year-old had travelled to Serbia and then to Spain prior to the trip.

The world number one, who is unvaccinated against Covid-19, blamed his agent for the mistake regarding his recent travel history, after the form stated he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his arrival in the country.

His statement attributed the widely reported discrepancy, published by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia earlier this week, to “human error” on behalf of his agent.

He said: “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.”

Djokovic had his visa revoked on 6 January shortly after his arrival in Australia amid questions over the vaccine exemption that would have permitted him to enter.

On Monday (10 January), a judge dramatically overturned the decision and ordered the player to be released from detention.

However, Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke has been considering personally intervening in the matter after Djokovic won his court battle against the Australian Border Force.

The Australian government has not ruled out taking further action and it remains possible that his visa could be cancelled for a second time just days before the Australian Open tournament begins.

His activity is currently being investigated as the government considers whether to deport him.

Djokovic is the Australian Open defending champion and top seed, and has won nine times in Melbourne.

He would make history if he is able to compete and goes on to secure a tenth win, as this would take him to 21 Grand Slam victories, moving him ahead of rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

The Australian Open draw is due to be held on Thursday (13 January).