Novak Djokovic press conference

Novak Djokovic releases statement on Covid confusion: ‘I made an error of judgement’

Novak Djokovic has admitted he attended an event whilst infected with Covid-19 and has said a ‘human error’ was made on his travel declaration.

Djokovic was initially refused entry to Australia at the border as he attempted to enter the country under a travel exemption.

The basis of that travel exemption was a previous Covid-19 infection, which he said arose on December 16.

However, he was then pictured at events on December 17 and 18 without a mask, prompting many to question the legitimacy of his medical exemption claim.

He, though, has released a statement on social media to clarify the sequence of events.

“I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event,” Djokovic said.

“The next day, on 18 December I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfil a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events except for the L’Equipe interview.

“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 being taken.

“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.”


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Novak Djokovic also addressed an anomaly on his travel declaration which saw him assure border officials he had not travelled within 14 days of his trip to Australia.

That was untrue as he went to Spain to practice less that two weeks before his arrival in Melbourne.

He, though, has put this down to ‘human error.’

“On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival – and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia,” he explained.

“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate. We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.