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Djokovic Admits False Assertion on Australia Journey Doc

MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked males’s tennis participant, acknowledged on Wednesday {that a} journey doc he offered to Australian border officers final week contained false info, because the nation’s authorities continued to research whether or not he needs to be deported.

Mr. Djokovic additionally stated that he had participated in an interview and a photograph shoot final month in his native Serbia even after testing constructive for the coronavirus, in an obvious breach of the nation’s guidelines for contaminated individuals. Australian officers have stated they’re trying into whether or not Mr. Djokovic, who’s unvaccinated, poses a threat to public well being.

The tennis star’s feedback got here in a press release he launched on social media that he stated was meant to “make clear misinformation” concerning the weeks earlier than he arrived in Melbourne for the Australian Open. He was detained for days by Australian border officers earlier than being ordered launched on Monday by a federal decide.

However Mr. Djokovic’s assertion didn’t absolutely resolve a spread of questions which have swirled over his quest to stay in Australia and search a file twenty first Grand Slam title. Amongst them are precisely when he discovered of the constructive take a look at consequence and the way his journey paperwork got here to misstate that he had not traveled internationally within the 14 days earlier than his arrival in Australia.

The assertion, which Mr. Djokovic stated can be his final remarks about his ordeal in Australia, was made because the nation’s immigration minister stated he was nonetheless contemplating whether or not to train his private powers to cancel the participant’s visa once more. Immigration officers had been additionally investigating the discrepancies within the paperwork Mr. Djokovic offered as he tried to enter Australia final week with an exemption from a requirement for Covid-19 vaccinations.

Australian tennis officers granted that exemption on the premise of what Mr. Djokovic had stated was a Covid an infection he had in mid-December. He had come underneath criticism over photos on social media exhibiting him at occasions on the identical time he was supposedly contaminated with the coronavirus.

Mr. Djokovic said on Instagram on Wednesday that he had taken a P.C.R. take a look at on Dec. 16 after some individuals at a basketball recreation he had attended two days earlier examined constructive for the coronavirus. Regardless of having no signs, he additionally took a fast antigen take a look at “out of an abundance of warning,” he stated, and it got here again detrimental.

On Dec. 17, he stated, as he was awaiting his P.C.R. consequence, he attended a tennis occasion in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, the place he offered awards to kids. He stated that his P.C.R. take a look at didn’t come again constructive till after that occasion.

On Dec. 18, he went forward with an interview and a photograph shoot with the French sports activities newspaper L’Equipe “to satisfy a longstanding dedication,” he stated.

“I felt obliged to go forward and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t need to let the journalist down, however did guarantee I socially distanced and wore a masks besides when my {photograph} was taken,” Mr. Djokovic stated.

“Whereas I went residence after the interview to isolate for the required interval, on reflection, this was an error of judgment and I settle for that I ought to have rescheduled this dedication,” he added.

It was not the primary time Mr. Djokovic has needed to apologize for dismissive actions he has taken in the course of the pandemic. In mid-2020, because the virus raged in Europe and elsewhere, he held a tennis event after which he and several other others examined constructive.

Whereas Mr. Djokovic stated in his assertion on Wednesday that he “had not obtained the notification of a constructive PCR consequence” till Dec. 17 — after the occasion involving kids — paperwork he supplied to Australian officers as he tried to enter the nation stated that the consequence had been returned the day earlier than.

A replica of his medical certificates for his constructive P.C.R. take a look at stated that the take a look at was taken at 1:05 p.m. on Dec. 16 and that the constructive consequence was returned at 8:19 on the identical day. In an affidavit supplied to an Australian court docket, he stated, “On 16 December 2021, I used to be examined and identified with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID).” It was unclear when precisely he discovered of his purported constructive take a look at.

The Serbian prime minister, Ana Brnabic, stated this week that had Mr. Djokovic recognized that he was constructive for the coronavirus earlier than attending the awards occasion on Dec. 17, he would have “clearly violated the principles” in Serbia.

However extra info was required, she added, saying, “I don’t know when he obtained the take a look at consequence, when he learn it.”

When requested what would occur if Mr. Djokovic was discovered to have breached quarantine guidelines, she stated the Serbian authorities would “cope with it.”

In his assertion, Mr. Djokovic additionally addressed questions concerning the declaration he made on his visa paperwork that he had not traveled to some other nations within the 14 days earlier than arriving in Australia. The paperwork warns of significant penalties for false solutions to the query.

His declaration had appeared to be contradicted by social media posts exhibiting him touring between Spain and Serbia. On Wednesday, he stated his agent had made an “administrative mistake in ticking the inaccurate field.”

“This was a human error and positively not deliberate,” he added.

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