Novak Djokovic 'won't win Australian Open' says Bowers
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Novak Djokovic gave a face-to-face interview with a French newspaper – while wearing a mask – only two days after he tested positive for Covid 19.
Court documents in Melbourne revealed that the world No 1 failed the test on December 16.
Having had Covid 19 was the justification for the Serb – who is not vaccinated – to gain an exemption to enter Australia last week.
A judge on Monday ruled that the decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa on his arrival Down Under was “unreasonable” and he immediately practised in the Rod Laver Arena.
The Australian Open starts on Monday (Jan 17). But unanswered questions remain about the conduct of the 20-time Grand Slam winner over the last month – and his public appearances with and without wearing a mask.
And L’Equipe journalist Franck Ramella today gives his account of his interview with the nine-time Australian Open champion on December 18 after he was voted the Foreign Sportsman of the Year by the sports daily.
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Djokovic arrived wearing a mask at his Novak Academy Tennis Centre in Belgrade and agreed to pose for photos, without a mask, at the request of the photographer Etienne Garnier.
Ramella wrote in L’Equipe: “We arrived at the interview. The instructions had been clear: no questions on vaccinations and the intentions of the Serb over the Australian Open.
“Very delicate subjects, if you still doubt it. We did not think about asking him if he had thought about getting a test. And if yes, what was the result.
“During 33 minutes, according to the timer, Djokovic responded to the questions with conviction. Both of us were protected, opposite each other at a distance of about one metre on either side of a long rectangular table. Asked by Etienne to take off his mask for five minutes during the interview, Djokovic refused.”
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During the interview which appeared last week, Djokovic admitted he was not “politically correct”.
His family shut down a press conference in Belgrade yesterday when questions were asked about his conduct in the days after December 16 when he should have been self-isolating.
He also appeared at a presentation for a stamp dedicated to him and at a prize-giving ceremony at his academy.
Ramella concluded: “Yesterday, I took a test before flying to Australia. Negative.”
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