The main episodes of the controversy over Novak Djokovic, the number one tennis player not vaccinated against covid-19 and whose participation in the Australian Open (January 17-30) is still in doubt due to the existing conflict regarding his conditions of entry into the country:
. December 16:
Two days after attending a basketball game in Belgrade, in which several people later tested positive for COVID-19, Djokovic undergoes a negative antigen test and then a PCR, which a day later showed a positive result .
Before having obtained the result, the tennis player attends the presentation of a stamp with his image in Serbia.
. December 17
The 34-year-old player from Belgrade participates in an event with young tennis players. Novak Djokovic assures that he carried out a second antigen test before it, which came back negative. "I had no symptoms, I felt fine, and I had not received notification of the positive PCR before the end of that event."he said in a statement posted on Instagram on January 12.
. Dec. 18:
Also in Belgrade, he gives an interview and a photo session to the French sports newspaper L’Équipe, on the occasion of the awarding of the ‘Champion of Champions’ trophy. I already knew then that it was positive for covid-19.
"I felt obliged (…) since I did not want to fail the journalist, but I took care of the social distance and the use of the mask, except in the photograph", He says. "I returned home after the interview to isolate myself for the required time. Reflecting later, it was an error in judgment and I admit that I should have postponed that commitment", it states.
. December 25th:
Djokovic is photographed in Belgrade in the company of Serbian handball player Peter Djordjic.
. December 31st:
The SotoTennis Academy tweets a video of Djokovic training in Marbella (Spain). On January 2, the local press photographed him training, also in Marbella.
. January 4:
Djokovic announces that he travels to Australia to defend his title thanks to a “medical exemption” that will allow him to play the tournament, although without specifying what it consists of.
All tennis players participating in the Australian Open must be vaccinated against covid-19 or obtain a medical exemption, granted by a commission of independent experts.
. January 5:
Australian tennis skipper Craig Tiley announces that 26 players or coaches, out of a total of 3,000 who will participate in the test, applied for a medical exemption, but that only a few had obtained it.
"There has been no favorable treatment. No special permission has been granted to Novak"Tiley defended herself against the criticism.
. January 6th:
The Australian authorities announce, after Djokovic’s arrival at Melbourne airport, that they have canceled the visa that should allow the tennis player to enter the country.
Djokovic was transferred to a migrant detention center, while his lawyers appealed this decision.
. January 7th:
Djokovic appreciates the support that his fans give him. "Thanks to people around the world for your continued support. I can perceive it and it is much appreciated", writes on Instagram.
. January the 8th:
Djokovic would have received the medical exemption after testing positive for COVID-19 on December 16, his lawyers reported in the 32-page appeal brief.
His lawyers also denounced that the tennis player was held at Melbourne airport for eight hours, most of them incommunicado.
. January 10:
An Australian judge orders the immediate release of Djokovic. In his opinion, if the authorities had given him time "could have consulted other people and presented arguments to explain why their visa should not be canceled".
The Australian government concedes that the manner in which the interview was conducted was not "reasonable". A government lawyer warns, however, that the executive may still decide on expulsion, which would result in a three-year ban on their entry into Australian territory.
. January 11:
The player resumes training.
It seems that the document delivered upon arrival in Melbourne did not indicate that he had been in Spain within the 14 days prior to his trip, something that could lead to his expulsion.
The legal battle undertaken by Djokovic to enter Australian territory and play the first Grand Slam of the year there has been "damaging on all fronts, including for Novak and his Australian Open preparation", estimates the ATP, the organization that manages the men’s tennis circuit.
. 12th of January:
Djokovic denounces in a statement on Instagram the "disinformation" about his appearances in public after his positive test on December 16 and provides his chronology of the events.
Regarding not having indicated his presence in Spain within the 14 days preceding the trip, Djokovic acknowledges "a human error" that "it was not deliberate" on the part of his "agent".