Novak Djokovic: Tennis star interviewed by French journalist despite having tested positive to Covid – Daily Mail

A French reporter who interviewed Novak Djokovic without knowing the tennis star had tested positive to Covid-19 was told not to ask if he was vaccinated.

Djokovic said he tested positive to the virus on December 16, but on December 18 he sat down with Franck Ramella, from French publication L’Equipe.

‘The instructions were clear – no questions about vaccination,’ Ramella wrote on Wednesday.

‘So we didn’t ask him if he had made efforts to get tested. If we had asked him, what would have been the point?’

A French reporter who interviewed Novak DJokovic without knowing the tennis star had tested positive to Covid-19 was told not to ask if he was vaccinated

A French reporter who interviewed Novak DJokovic without knowing the tennis star had tested positive to Covid-19 was told not to ask if he was vaccinated

A French reporter who interviewed Novak DJokovic without knowing the tennis star had tested positive to Covid-19 was told not to ask if he was vaccinated

The reporter said Djokovic refused to remove his mask for five minutes when asked by the photographer but did later take it off for a photo. 

Ramella, who has tested negative to fly to Victoria for the Australian Open only found out Djokovic was positive when he was detained at Melbourne Airport last week. 

‘Both of us were protected, opposite each other at a distance of about one metre on either side of a long rectangular table,’ the journalist said. 

The International Tennis Writers Association said Djokovic not disclosing his positive result was ‘deeply concerning’. 

‘The news that Novak Djokovic did not tell one of our members — and the rest of the L’Equipe team on the day — that he had tested positive for Covid-19 is deeply concerning,’ an ITWA statement said on Thursday.

‘As journalists, we take great care to adhere to all Covid-19 rules in place, and we would expect all players to do the same.’ 

The International Tennis Writers Association said Djokovic not disclosing his positive result was 'deeply concerning'

The International Tennis Writers Association said Djokovic not disclosing his positive result was 'deeply concerning'

The International Tennis Writers Association said Djokovic not disclosing his positive result was ‘deeply concerning’

Addressing the matter, Djokovic in an Instagram post on Wednesday admitted he made an ‘error in judgement’ and had cancelled all other events except for his 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,’ Djokovic said. 

‘On reflection, this was an error of judgment and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.’ 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said those who test positive must isolate, adding the world No.1’s behaviour would be a ‘clear breach’ of the rules. 

It comes as the Australian government is expected to make an announcement on Thursday as to whether Djokovic can stay in the country after his vaccination exemption was denied.

A discrepancy in dates has sparked calls for urgent clarification after Djokovic admitted to lying on his Australian entry declaration and attending events after his positive test.

Sources have told the Herald Sun senior figures believe they should fight for the integrity of the border policy, regardless of the chances of being successful.

It comes as the Australian government is expected to make an announcement on Thursday as to whether Djokovic can stay in the country after his vaccination exemption was denied

It comes as the Australian government is expected to make an announcement on Thursday as to whether Djokovic can stay in the country after his vaccination exemption was denied

It comes as the Australian government is expected to make an announcement on Thursday as to whether Djokovic can stay in the country after his vaccination exemption was denied

They added the government is prepared to cop a global backlash as launching a case for Djokovic to be deported would be consistent with ‘ongoing efforts to control the spread of Covid’.

The penalty for giving false evidence under the Crimes Act is a five-year jail. 

Discrepancies emerged after Djokovic issued a lengthy Instagram statement on Wednesday to clarify ‘misinformation’ about his movements while positive with Covid last month.

‘I want to address the continuing misinformation about my activities and attendance at events in December in the lead-up to my positive Covid test result,’ it began.

‘I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations.’ 

He also addressed the errors on his travel declaration upon arrival in Australia and has since provided additional information to authorities.

On December 17 pictures emerged of the Serbian star at an event in Belgrade presenting awards to children without a mask.

Djokovic is seen at Melbourne Airport on January 5 where he was detained over issues with his vaccination exemption

Djokovic is seen at Melbourne Airport on January 5 where he was detained over issues with his vaccination exemption

Djokovic is seen at Melbourne Airport on January 5 where he was detained over issues with his vaccination exemption

He said he only learned of his positive test shortly after the meet and greet. 

Under Serbian law, where anyone Covid positive must isolate for 14 days, such a breach can carry a maximum sentence of three years behind bars. 

Djokovic also falsely said he had not travelled to any other country in the 14 days prior to arriving in Melbourne, but it was later revealed he had been in Spain.

‘This was submitted by my support team on my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival,’ he said.

‘My agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia.’

The Serbian star said the mistake was a ‘human error’ and in a pandemic ‘sometimes these mistakes can occur’.  

THE THREE ‘INCONSISTENCIES’ IN NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S STORY

1. WHEN DID THE WORLD NO. 1 FIND OUT HE WAS POSITIVE? AND WAS HIS COVID TEST MANIPULATED? 

There are serious questions about when the anti-vaxxer learned of his positive Covid test. A sworn affidavit to the Federal Circuit Court claimed the tennis star was ‘tested and diagnosed’ for Covid on December 16.

This contradicts his Instagram statement on Wednesday, after pictures emerged of the Serbian star at an event in Belgrade on December 17 presenting awards to children without a mask.

He said he only learned of his positive test shortly after the meet and greet.

Djokovic was told he could fly into Melbourne on the basis he tested positive to the virus in Serbia on December 16 and then negative six days later.

But German publication Der Spiegel claims when its reporter entered the QR code for his December 16 test into the official Serbian health database at 1.19pm on Monday, the result came back negative.

An hour later at 2.33pm, the scan returned a positive result – in what could simply be a quirk of the system.

A negative result would have invalidated Djokovic’s claim to enter Australia on a temporary working visa for the tournament.

2. DJOKOVIC BREACHED COVID ISOLATION RULES IN SERBIA 

The 34-year-old disclosed he had attended an event with children while he was Covid positive, but claimed he didn’t know he was infected until afterwards.

He had taken a PCR test the day before and was awaiting results, but said he tested negative to a rapid antigen test so went along.

Djokovic has been the subject of intense scrutiny for presenting awards to kids at an event in Belgrade on December 17 – a day after recording a positive result for the virus.

The Serbian maintained he was not aware of his diagnosis until shortly after but did admit to conducting an in-person interview with French newspaper L’Équipe knowing he was positive.

He called his decision to go ahead with the Q and A an ‘error in judgement’ but said he maintained social distancing and wore a mask.

Under Serbian law, where anyone Covid positive must isolate for 14 days, such a breach can carry a maximum sentence of three years behind bars. 

3. THE TENNIS STAR PROVIDED FALSE INFORMATION ON HIS DECLARATION FORM AND TO THE COURT 

Djokovic is alleged to have written incorrect information on his landing card telling Border Force he had not travelled in the past 14 days despite visiting Spain.

He later said this was an administrative mistake make by his agent, who ‘ticked the incorrect box’. 

He also declared he was ‘tested and diagnosed’ for Covid on December 16 in a court document but now says he learnt of his positive test on December 17.

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Novak Djokovic: Tennis star interviewed by French journalist despite having tested positive to Covid – Daily Mail

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