In a statement published on social media, he apologized for the apparently false travel announcement, saying it was submitted in “human error” on his behalf by a member of his support staff.
Djokovic has been embroiled in controversy since his detention in Australia over a visa and vaccination dispute last week.
“I would like to address the persistent misinformation about my activities and attendance at events in December in the lead up to my positive PCR COVID test result,” he said in the statement.
“This is misinformation that needs to be corrected, particularly in the interest of reducing community-wide concern about my presence in Australia, and to address matters that are very harmful and concerning to my family.” .
“I want to emphasize that I have made great efforts to ensure everyone’s safety and compliance with testing obligations.”
Djokovic said he attended a basketball game in the Serbian capital Belgrade on December 14, where several people later tested positive. He did not show any symptoms, but was tested on 16 December. On December 17, before receiving the official result of his test, he underwent a rapid test that turned out to be negative, and attended a youth tennis awards ceremony – after which he received an official positive result, according to the statement.
The next day, December 18, he did a media interview and photo shoot, saying he went ahead because “I didn’t want to disappoint the journalist.” He said he socially distanced and wore a mask except for photo shoots.
“When I went home to isolate for the required period after the interview, upon reflection, it was an error of judgment and I acknowledge that I should have rescheduled this commitment,” he said.
After news of his positive result emerged, Djokovic received widespread criticism for photographs showing him at these various events – often unmasked and around children.
His Wednesday statement that he was not aware of his positive COVID status till December 17 also contradicts the comments of his brother, who said in a press conference on Tuesday that the player tested positive on December 16 and knew his result .
In an interview with Australian broadcaster and CNN-affiliated Seven Network on Wednesday, Djokovic’s mother said she “probably” did not know she had tested positive before attending the events.
Even Serbian officials, who have strongly defended Djokovic and condemned his temporary detention throughout the trial, acknowledged the controversy.
“It would be a clear violation of the rules because if you know you are positive you have to be in isolation,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told the BBC – but “there is some gray area” as it was not clear when Djokovic Received your results.
Djokovic also addressed the controversy over an apparently false travel announcement.
Although he said he had not traveled in the 14 days before arriving in Australia, photos taken during that period show him in both Spain and Serbia.
In the statement, he apologized for the false declaration, saying it was submitted “by my support team on my behalf”, calling it “a human error and certainly not intentional”. He declined to comment further, saying only that he hoped to play at the Australian Open and “compete against the best players in the world”.
According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website, submitting a false travel declaration carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison.
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Wednesday: “As noted publicly, Minister Hawke is considering whether to revoke Mr. Djokovic’s visa under Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act. Go.” “Mr. Djokovic’s lawyers have recently provided lengthy further submissions and supporting documentation relevant to the possible cancellation of Mr. Djokovic’s visa. Naturally, this will affect the deadline for the decision.”
Although Djokovic’s visa was revoked by the judge, Hawke could still use his personal power to revoke it – leading to another legal impasse.