Melbourne (AFP) – These are the main episodes of the controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic, the number one tennis player who wanted to compete in the Australian Open (17-30 January) without getting vaccinated, and whose visa to that country was revoked on Friday:
. December 16:
Two days after attending a basketball game in Belgrade, where several people later tested positive for COVID-19, Djokovic underwent a negative antigen test and then a PCR test, which a day later showed a positive result.
Before getting the score, the tennis player attends a stamp presentation with his photo in Serbia.
. December 17
The 34-year-old from Belgrade takes part in an event with young tennis players. Novak Djokovic confirmed that he had taken a second antigen test before him, and his test came back negative. “I had no symptoms, felt well and did not receive PCR positivity before the end of that event,” he said in a statement posted to Instagram on January 12.
. December 18:
In Belgrade, he also gave an interview and a photo session for the French sports newspaper L’Equipe on the occasion of the awarding of the “Champion of Champions” trophy. I already knew at the time that she tested positive for covid-19.
“I felt compelled (…) because I didn’t want the journalist to fail, but I did take care of social distancing and mask use, except for the photo,” he says. “I went home after the interview to isolate myself for the time required,” he says. “To reflect later, it was an error of judgment and I admit I should have postponed this commitment.”
. December 25:
Djokovic was photographed in Belgrade with Serbian handball player Petr Djordich.
. December 31:
The Soto Tennis Academy tweets a video of Djokovic’s training in Marbella (Spain). On January 2, the local press photographed him training in Marbella as well.
. January 4th:
Djokovic has announced that he is traveling to Australia to defend his title thanks to a “medical exemption” allowing him to play the tournament, although its components have not been specified.
All tennis players participating in the Australian Open must be vaccinated against covid-19 or receive a medical exemption, granted by a panel of independent experts.
. January 5:
Australian tennis official Craig Tilly announced that 26 players or coaches, out of a total of 3,000 who will take part in the test, have applied for medical exemption, but only a few have.
Tilley defended the criticism, saying “there was no preferential treatment. Novak was not given special permission”.
. January 6:
The Australian authorities announced, after Djokovic’s arrival at Melbourne airport, that they had canceled the visa that should allow the tennis player to enter the country.
Djokovic was transferred to an immigration detention center, while his lawyers appealed this decision.
. January 7:
Djokovic appreciates the support his fans give him. “Thank you to people around the world for your continued support. I can feel that and it is greatly appreciated,” she wrote on Instagram.
. January 8th:
His lawyers said in the 32-page appeal memorandum that Djokovic was to receive medical exemption after he tested positive for COVID-19 on December 16.
His lawyers also denounced the tennis player’s eight-hour detention at Melbourne Airport, most of them incommunicado.
. January 10:
An Australian judge has ordered the immediate release of Djokovic. In his opinion, if the authorities had given him time “he could have consulted other people and made arguments to explain why his visa was not revoked”.
The Australian Government acknowledges that the manner in which the interview was conducted was not “reasonable”. However, a government lawyer warned that the executive branch could make a decision on the expulsion, which could lead to a three-year ban on their entry into Australian territory.
. January 11:
The document delivered on arrival in Melbourne does not appear to indicate that he was in Spain within the 14 days prior to his flight, which could lead to his expulsion.
Djokovic’s legal battle to enter Australian soil and play the first major tournament of the year has been “devastating on all fronts, including Novak and his preparation for the Australian Open”, estimates the ATP, the organization that runs the men’s teams. Tennis circuit.
. January 12:
In a statement on Instagram, Djokovic denounced “misinformation” about his appearance in public after he tested positive on December 16 and gave his timeline of events.
Regarding the failure to indicate his presence in Spain in the 14 days leading up to the trip, Djokovic admits “a human error” that was “unintentional” on the part of his “agent”.
. January 13:
The Australian Open draw identified Serbian Miomir Kekmanovic (78 in the world rankings) as Djokovic’s opponent in the first round.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke clarified in a statement that the Australian government is canceling Djokovic’s visa again, in a decision adopted on “health and public order” reasons. This measure means that the Serbian tennis player will not be able to enter Australia for three years, except in certain circumstances.
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