Tennis: Djokovic attended Belgrade event 24 hours after positive Covid-19 test

Novak Djokovic (back row, centre) was at a young players event in Belgrade the day after he tested positive for Covid-19. PHOTO: BELGRADE TENNIS ASSOCIATION/FACEBOOK

(AFP) - Novak Djokovic, whose lawyers said on Saturday (Jan 8) he was given an Australian Open Covid-19 vaccine exemption for testing positive on Dec 16, was at a young players event in Belgrade the following day, without a mask.

In a filing to the federal court seeking to overturn his entry visa cancellation, his lawyers said that the "date of the first positive Covid PCR test was recorded on 16 December 2021".

The Belgrade Tennis Association, in a Facebook post after the Dec 17 ceremony, reported that Djokovic had handed over cups and awards to the best young players in 2021.

The event, held at the Novak Tennis Centre in the Serbian capital, was attended only by the award winners "due to epidemiological measures related to the coronavirus pandemic", said the association's statement.

It was accompanied by several photos of Djokovic, posing with the federation's officials and some 20 young players holding cups and awards.

No one was wearing a mask.

At the ceremony, the association's head Milan Slavkovic presented Djokovic with an Orthodox icon for "all he has done for tennis and sports in general, for all achievements and generosity he is making every day throughout the planet", the statement said.

The event was widely reported in the Serbian media.

Djokovic attended another gathering on Dec 16, when the Serbian national postal service honoured him by launching a series of stamps featuring him and his sports achievements.

He published a photo from the ceremony on Instagram on Dec 17.

Australian border agents tore up Djokovic's entry visa for failing to meet the country's tough Covid-19 vaccine requirements when he landed in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Serb, an outspoken vaccine sceptic, was placed in a Melbourne detention centre.

He will have his appeal heard in court on Monday.

The world no. 1 has also requested to be moved to a facility where he can train for the Australian Open, his lawyers said.

Foreigners are still mostly banned from travel to Australia, and those granted entry must be fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption.

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