Novak Djokovic is again under fire, this time for holding a photoshoot and accompanying interview while knowing he had COVID. In a statement posted to Instagram Wednesday, the 34-year-old revealed he was exposed to the virus at a basketball game he attended last month, but still went through with his planned media obligations—including an event for children in his native Serbia—while awaiting results from his PCR test, which ultimately came back positive.
Not wanting to cancel his interview with L’Equipe, Djokovic honored his “longstanding commitment” to the French news outlet, wearing a mask (except when he was photographed) and keeping socially distant before beginning his quarantine period later that day. Djokovic maintains he was asymptomatic throughout the ordeal.
Djokovic said he regrets going through with the interview, acknowledging in hindsight that he should have rescheduled. As for his travel documents, which incorrectly claimed he had not traveled internationally in the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia, Djokovic says his agent merely “ticked the wrong box,” attributing the mix-up to “human error” while insisting he had no intention of “deliberately” providing false information.
Djokovic was one of only a “handful” of players to receive a medical exemption to play in next week’s Australian Open despite being unvaccinated. The World No. 1 was detained at the Australian border after having his visa canceled, though a court ruling would eventually overturn that decision.
Now that he’s submitted the right paperwork, Djokovic should—barring further action by tournament officials or the Australian government—be on track to compete in Melbourne, where he has won nine times before including each of the last three years. A 10th Aussie title would give Djokovic 21 career grand slams, breaking a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most all-time.