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Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, received a medical exemption to compete in the year’s first grand slam but when he touched down in Melbourne last week, was told by the Australian Border Force he had insufficient evidence to prove his exemption was justified.
Djokovic was kept in a Melbourne hotel until the end of Monday’s hearing, when he was released from detention.
That revelation has sparked burning questions about Djokovic’s behaviour after he knew he was infected with the virus.
On December 16, Djokovic received a commemorative stamp in his honour at an event hosted by the Serbian National Postal Service. The tennis star later shared photos of the event on social media.
Djokovic also reportedly attended an awards ceremony at the Novak Tennis Centre in Belgrade on December 17. Multiple photos on social media show the 34-year-old posing for photos with children without wearing a mask.
French newspaper L’Équipe revealed Djokovic posed without a mask during a photo shoot on December 18.
An honor to receive my very own Serbian stamp. Thank you to my generous country for this rare gift! I’m humbled!! Excited to share we’ll partner with the Serbian National Postal Service on @novakfoundation projects for every child to have the opportunity to attend preschool 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/Ww8Zma95NU
His family members — father Srdjan, mother Dijana and brother Djordje — were asked about that matter at a press conference in Belgrade overnight. A reporter said: “Was he at an event on the 17th of December in Belgrade?”
Djordje gave a wry smile and shut the press conference down. “So, ah, this press conference is adjourned at the moment,” he said.
One major question for Novak Djokovic at the moment is regarding his movements after testing positive on 16 December. Someone asked his family if "he was at an event on the 17th of December". This was the response: pic.twitter.com/ypIxquMHUG
There were plenty of people critical of Djokovic once it became clear he knew he was positive on December 16.
Sports journalist Todd Balym tweeted: “Court documents show Novak Djokovic got his positive Covid test results shortly after 8pm on Dec 16 — so he knew he was Covid positive visiting kids & others the next 2 days. Court might’ve cleared him today, but public opinion will judge him as a selfish maskhole.”
Boxing presenter Ben Damon wrote: “That’s horrific.”
Sports journalist Michael Hincks said: “How do Novak Djokovic fans explain/defend his Dec 17 and 18 actions at a ceremony with children and interview with L’Equipe if he recorded a positive PCR test on Dec 16?”
BBC presenter Adil Ray added: “Djokovic got Covid then apparently carried on as normal, hugging children. Unless his team can explain that, he should not be allowed to play tennis in a country where borders have been closed and families kept apart. He is not an exception.”
New Zealand cricket star Jimmy Neesham tweeted: “If this is true … absolutely disgraceful.”
Djokovic’s family thanked fans for their support and defended his right to be in Australia when they fronted reporters in Belgrade after the court hearing.
“Thank you to people all over the world, people have risen in defence of Novak, we have seen the footage in front of the detention centre,” Djordje said.
“Novak is free, he practised on the courts. He went there to chase another title, with the best possible intent and all the documentation.
“Novak has been labelled many times, but all he stands for is freedom of choice. The justice has been done.
“Truth and justice came to the light. I would like to thank the justice system of Australia.”
Djokovic’s father Srdjan added: “Novak is a mental rock. He never offended anyone, he always tries to help, not the contrary.”