Novak Djokovic Covid test saga resumes as tennis star voices doubts after private chat | Tennis | sport
Former world No. 9 Fabio Fognini has cast doubt on Novak Djokovic’s alleged positive Covid test in December, which was a crucial part of his ordeal at the Australian Open last month. Fognini, who won the Australian Open doubles title in 2015, also claims to have spoken with the Serb after his controversial expulsion.
Djokovic’s positive test was part of a medical vaccine exemption which he said would allow him to enter Australia.
But the unvaccinated tennis star was met with hostility after arriving in Melbourne and held in a migrant detention center for several days.
After a judge cleared him to play, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke stepped in and deported the 20-time Grand Slam champion on the grounds that it could stoke anti-vaccine sentiment in the country.
The legitimacy of Djokovic’s positive test, which was reportedly recorded in December, has been questioned by BBC Research.
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He was also seen without a mask in public the day after he was supposed to have tested positive and admitted knowing about his positive test during an interview with a French journalist in December.
Djokovic has largely withdrawn from the public eye in recent weeks, and Fognini cast doubt on the fiasco, admitting “only he knows” whether his test was truly positive.
‘I spoke to Djokovic when they kicked him out of Australia,’ the Italian says The Grafico.
“It was very crazy. He fought because he knew he could do it.
“Only he knows if he had the Covid. It’s very private.
“It was sad: we talked about it more than a Grand Slam. I don’t want to say anything else. I would have liked to see him play.”
To add salt to the 34-year-old’s injuries, ‘big three’ rival Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open title in his absence, giving him a clear round on the all-time list with 21 major titles.
And Djokovic’s complications may not end there, with others expecting to come to Indian Wells, a tournament often referred to as the ‘fifth Grand Slam’.
He is on the roster, but US Covid vaccine entry requirements suggest he will run into trouble unless his stance changes.
Moreover, exemptions would be difficult to obtain, even if Djokovic wanted to return to this path after his high-profile struggles in Melbourne.
The Serb could be back in action at Roland Garros, which is set to drop within six months of his presumed positive test and could therefore earn him a vaccine passport.
Fognini is not the only one with his doubts, however, which could prompt further investigation into his Covid claims ahead of the start of the tournament.