The story of Novak Djokovic’s positive Covid test in December grows more bizarre by the day. You might think “why is this even important in the grand scheme of things?” Let me explain. The Australian Open had a vaccine mandate for tennis players coming into the country. Only the AO handed out some “medical exemptions” to a few players, and those exemptions were not cleared by the local Victorian government, nor the federal government of Australia. The feds did not and do not honor the AO scheme that a Covid-positive test in the previous six months is enough to get a medical exemption from being vaccinated. Djokovic clung to the idea that if he had Covid recently, he could enter Oz without being vaccinated.
Part of Novak’s visa application was that he tested positive for Covid on December 16th. On that same day, he was in Belgrade with dozens of kids at the tennis club he owns. He was maskless and interacting with children and their parents for hours. Then the next day, he did a photoshoot and interview with L’Equipe. He was maskless for the shoot, but apparently he did wear a mask for the in-person interview. He did not tell anyone about his Covid-positive status on the 16th or 17th. He did not announce anything in the days afterwards either. There were conversations for the past week about when Novak learned he was “Covid positive” and whether he somehow faked his test. It’s bad either way – either Novak was knowingly Covid-positive and maskless around many people, or he faked a Covid test to get a visa. Well, Novak released a statement and here we go:
There is a grotesque humor to this – he’s like “I need to clarify some misinformation” and his clarification is that all of the reporting is true, he was Covid-positive around dozens of children and adults and he didn’t tell any of them about his Covid status. He’s saying that he attended the event at his tennis club on the 17th AFTER he took a bunch of Covid tests but BEFORE he got a positive result. And he admits that he did the whole photoshoot and interview with L’Equipe knowing he was positive and NOT TELLING ANYONE.
The Serbian prime minister has asked Djokovic to explain why he breached the country’s quarantine rules for Covid-positive people. Oh, and did I mention that Der Spiegel is doing exclusive coverage of the shenanigans with Novak’s PCR testing? Apparently, Serbia has a central test result registry and people who take tests get a QR code. There are… um, some issues with Novak’s code. Journalists examining the code got different results depending on when they looked it up, and Novak’s test might have been negative at some point, and then it was changed to positive. And the dates don’t match up with Novak’s story either.
Y’all – now I kind of think Novak really will get deported from Australia?! Reportedly, Aussie authorities have had an open investigation into all things Djoker since they detained him last week. They’re set to announce their decision tomorrow (in Oz), which would be this evening here, EST.
Photos courtesy of Instagram, L’Equipe, Backgrid and Avalon Red.