Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic attempted to clarify on Tuesday night why he was seen in public in the days immediately after taking a test for COVID-19 in December that came back positive.
In a lengthy statement posted on Instagram, Djokovic said he first took a rapid antigen test on Dec. 16 that came back negative after learning he had been exposed to a breakout of COVID at a basketball game in Belgrade, Serbia. He says he additionally took a PCR test that day “out of an abundance of caution.”
With results of the PCR test still pending, Djokovic attended a children’s event without wearing a mask, although he said in his statement that he took a second rapid antigen test that morning that also came back negative.
Djokovic says he didn’t find out until Dec. 18 that his PCR test was positive and he decided then to cancel all further events, except an interview and photoshoot with French newspaper L’Equipe.
“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 taken,” Djokovic wrote. “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.”
Djokovic has also been accused of lying on an immigration form to enter Australia by ticking a box that said he hadn’t traveled in the two weeks before his flight to the country. The tennis star was seen in Spain and Serbia during that period. He called the discrepancy “a human error and certainly not deliberate.”
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