The Serbian tennis player tries to defend himself with a post on Instagram. The yellow of the tampon: 16 or 26 December? And the final decision of the immigration minister is still awaited on Nole’s stay in Australia
Attack and defense. Novak Djokovic strongly rejects what he calls “disinformation” about his public outings in Serbia despite a positive test at Covid, but at the same time admits some mistakes made in managing the affair of his trip to Australia. All while the Australian government continues to postpone a final decision – which was expected for today 12 January – on the legitimacy or otherwise of the Serbian’s stay on its territory and the Australian media recall that the maximum penalty for a false declaration on the test, based on the Crimes Act, it would be five years in prison. Difficult to go that far, while the risk from a sporting point of view is more concrete. In fact, the ATP, even before the Djokovic case exploded, had required to specify that “if a player is discovered to falsify the result of a tampon, a three-year disqualification is envisaged”.
Djokovic, who described the accusations as “very painful” for his family, declared in a long post on Instagram that he learned of the test result of December 16 (on the authenticity of which, however, doubts begin to arise, as Der Spiegel writes) only the following day And acknowledged having committed “Human errors”in filling out the documents to enter Australia and in participating in an interview with TheTeam last December 18 despite already knowing of his positivity to Covid following the test on 16.
The agent’s mistake
On the issue of false information provided upon entry to Australia, the Serbian writes that his agent made a mistake by filling in the travel form. In the part relating to his recent travels, it was in fact stated that Djokovic had not traveled in the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia; in fact, in those two weeks the athlete was seen in Spain and Serbia. “My agent sincerely apologizes for the administrative error in marking the wrong box: it was a human error and certainly not deliberate, ”Nole wrote, adding that his team has“ provided additional information to the Australian government to clarify the matter ”. The Australian Border Force, that is the local immigration authority, is investigating to ascertain whether there has been a false declaration: vaccine or not, this alone would be sufficient reason for the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa.
The interview with the Equipe
As for the interview with L’Equipe of December 18, the tennis player, although aware of his positivity to Covid following the test of 16 (with the result learned on 17), explains that he went the same “ so as not to embarrass the journalist but I kept the safety distance and the mask all the time, except during the photographs. When I got home, I isolated myself and thought about it. I made a mistake in judgment and I admit that I should have postponed the appointment ».
The yellow of the pad
Meanwhile, another detective story emerges concerning the authenticity of the December 16 pad: it was revealed by the German newspaper Der Spiegel, who carried out his own investigation with the Zerforschung cyber investigators. The Germans explain that the QR code of Djokovic’s test on December 16 showed a negative result on the first scan of the journalistic investigation (Monday at 13.19) and a positive result on the second (Monday at 14.33). An anomaly also arises between the paper version of the test result and its digital version, which have different dates. According to the results of the research group, the test of December 16 has a progressive number of 7371999. The documents indicate that the result occurred around 8 pm. The “timestamp” of the positive buffer, however, gives a very different result: December 26 at 2:21 pm, that is, 10 days after the date reported as that of the infection. The point is, the December 22 negative buffer has the number 7320919, smaller than 51080 units when it should have been larger. If the December 16 test is good, it may have been registered in the Serbian database 10 days later, four days after failing. The question, of course, is not insignificant. However, Djokovic did not address the problem in his post.
Subsequently, the Australian newspaper Sidney Morning Herald also pointed out that zerforschung added that if a “plausible explanation” for the timestamp discrepancy has come to light, the same cannot be said for the discrepancy in the confirmation codes. In fact, taking a look at the web posts of the Serbian users of the HackerNews forum, it was theorized that the timestamps in the QR code and its linked URL were regenerated when the PDF of the swab result was downloaded. This could mean, for example, that Djokovic or someone in his name re-downloaded one of his results on December 26th. “This explains the inconsistencies in the timestamps – but not in the confirmation codes – because those remain the same, ”stressed zerforschung in a detailed update of his first post on the blog and on Twitter.
The mother: “She didn’t know”
But Djokovic knew or did not know about the positive Covid test result when he appeared in public in Serbia without mask? “No,” the tennis player’s mother said in a televised interview with Australian Channel 7. “She probably didn’t know. He didn’t know because when he realized he was positive he went into isolation“. The Serbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic, however, said that if the tennis player had presented himself in public knowing he was positive for the virus this would be a “clear violation” of the country’s rules. “If you are positive you must be in isolation – underlined Brnabic in an interview with the BBC -. I don’t know when he actually got the results, so there is one gray area“. And he added: “The only answer to this can be provided by Novak.” Whose fate – to stay or not in Australia and play the tournament that could give him his 21st career Slam, an all-time record – depends on Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. The final decision was scheduled for today 12 January, but it could still be postponed: it seems that Djokovic’s lawyers have produced new documents in the defense brief.