Up to this point, I’ve tried to give the benefit of doubt to Novak Djokovic. I do think he was fed some wrong information from the Australian Open and he’s likely going to get sent home on Monday. But he has some explaining to do on another matter.
According to court documents released earlier today, Djokovic tested positive for COVID on December 16.
“..the date of the first positive COVID PCR test was recorded on 16 December 2021,” Djokovic lawyers wrote.
So December 16 is a hard fact.
And marry that with the social media photos floating around that date and you run into some conflicts. As I said in my earlier post, maybe those photos were taken before the positive test and released sometime after.
But, now the venerable French sports outlet L’Equipe has confirmed that they had Djokovic in for a photoshoot on December 18, just two days after his positive confirmation.
French newspaper L'Équipe reveals that Novak Djokovic "posed without a mask during the presentation of the Champion of Champions 2021 trophy" on December 18, two days after allegedly testing positive for covid-19 (according to his lawyers).
You cannot make this stuff up… pic.twitter.com/y2Cf92ds93
— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) January 8, 2022
And that goes along with other photos circulating like this one from his own foundation from the 16th which would have been before the positive result:
Yesterday, as part of our "Path of a Champion" program, we organized a panel discussion at Novak Tennis Center on the topic "The role and establishment of authority in the development of character and discipline."🌟💙
— Novak Djokovic Foundation (@novakfoundation) December 17, 2021
He’s maskless in both!
On December 14, he was at a pro basketball and met a player who later tested positive — hence perhaps why Djokovic would get tested.
— Barça Basket (@FCBbasket) December 14, 2021
Anyway, so if he was positive on the 16th what was he doing attending that photoshoot on the 18th, and without a mask? How’s he going to explain that one.
He could say he took the test on the 16th but received the result later, on say the 19th. But then why risk going out in public while you are awaiting results after a close contact?
He could say the result did come back positive on the 16th, but he just never bothered to read it or wasn’t told until much later.
He could say the lawyers mis-wrote the date. Instead of December 16 it was October 16 or September 16 or July 16.
He could say he made a mistake and the positive test slipped his mind.
Or, likely what probably happened was he never did test positive and to get into Australia they made this positive test up. And that positive test was never to be made public. His team never thought that would leak. That makes the most sense here and is the simplest explanation. Especially since what was Djokovic’s other medical exemption option of getting to Melbourne? “I’m Novak Djokovic, world No. 1, 9-time Australian Open champion, they’ll let me in!!!”
Plus, as I said earlier, why wouldn’t he have announced the positive test result on the 16th. There’s no shame in that. Lots of players — including Rafael Nadal — has recently revealed positive tests. He did it last summer!
So forget Australia — they are likely not overturning their ruling even if it wasn’t his fault (rules are rules) and he could face a 3-year ban from the country(!!) — but he’ll now wake up this AM in his hotel to this new story and have to explain why he’s out in public maskless and COVID positive. And there’s no good way to do that.
I guess for Djokovic, if he does get sent back home he won’t be in front of the press until late February, so he’ll have time to get his story straight.
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