Novak Djokovic of Serbia at a practice session ahead of the Australian Open at the Melbourne Park tennis centre in Melbourne on January 12, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

The Novak Djokovic saga gets murkier with every emerging detail. The world number one tennis player now admits to breaking COVID-19 rules in Serbia and attributed a false declaration in the Australian travel document to an administrative error by his agent.

How do we believe Djokovic? Especially since he has kept us in the dark. His December 16 COVID infection came to light only after being denied entry in Australia. And he went on to attack reports on his public appearances during his infection as “misinformation”.

Now, he comes out with an Instagram post to explain the breach of COVID rules. Admitted, Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. But that doesn’t bestow him the licence to flout safety protocols when the world is reeling from a global pandemic.

What do you do when you suspect an infection or when you could be a primary contact? Common sense tells you to get tested. Djokovic did that. He said a negative antigen test encouraged him to attend two events in Belgrade — the unveiling of a Djokovic stamp and an awards ceremony attended by children.

But after a positive RT-PCR result, Djokovic gave an interview to a French magazine because he “didn’t want to let the journalist down”. He thought his mask would protect others and now feels that it was an “error of judgement”.

How are we to believe this, coming from a player who refuses to be vaccinated? A player who arrived in Melbourne with a medical exemption to defend his Australian Open title. Only after a judge overturned the Australia Border Force’s revocation of Djokovic’s visa did the world learn of his COVID infection.

Well, that’s a private matter. But attending public events when you are suspected to be a COVID case is not befitting a tennis star. That belongs to the realm of prima donnas. A prima donna, that’s how Djokovic has acted throughout this episode.

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Djokovic apologised for the errors and his behaviour at the immigration, but that came a bit too late. Did the border force ask Djokovic about his flight to Spain ahead of his trip to Australia? Did he deny that? We won’t know the answers, but the apology may hold some clues.

I wonder how Djokovic would have sought the medical exemption if he hadn’t attended a basketball match on December 16, where several people later tested positive. Did he have a premonition? Or else, he would have been deprived of a chance to become the most successful men’s singles tennis player with a record 21 grand slam titles.

What a way to destroy an awesome career!