In a statement posted to social media, he also apologized for a seemingly false travel statement, saying it had been submitted on his behalf by a member of his support staff in “human error”.
Djokovic has been embroiled in controversy since he was detained in Australia last week over a visa and vaccination dispute.
“I would like to address the continuing misinformation about my activities and participation in events in December in the run-up to my positive PCR Covid test result,” he said in the statement.
“This is misinformation that needs to be rectified, especially to address a broader community concern about my presence in Australia, and to address issues that are very hurtful and concern my family.
“I would like to emphasize that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with test obligations.”
Djokovic said he had taken part in a basketball match in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, on December 14, where many people were tested positive afterwards. He showed no symptoms but was tested on December 16th. On December 17, before receiving the official result of his test, he took a quick test that turned out to be negative and participated in an award ceremony of youth tennis – after which he received an officially positive result, according to the statement.
The following day, December 18, he did a media interview and photo shoot, saying he went ahead because “I would not let the journalist down.” He took social distance and wore a mask apart from the photography, he added.
“While I went home after the interview to isolate myself for the required period, this was on reflection a misjudgment, and I accept that I should have moved this commitment,” he said.
After the news of his positive result surfaced, Djokovic received widespread criticism for photographs showing him at these various events – often unmasked and around children.
His statement on Wednesday that he did not know his positive Covid status until December 17 also contradicts comments from his brother, who told a news conference on Tuesday that the player tested positive on December 16 and knew his result.
In an interview with the Australian television station and CNN-affiliated Seven Network on Wednesday, Djokovic’s mother said he “probably” did not know he had tested positive before attending the events.
Even Serbian authorities, who have strongly defended Djokovic and condemned his temporary detention throughout the trial, acknowledged the controversy.
“It would be a clear violation of the rules, because if you know you are safe, you have to be in isolation,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić told the BBC – but added, “there is a gray area” as it was unclear , when Djokovic received his results.
Djokovic also addressed the controversy over a seemingly false travel statement.
Although he said he had not traveled in the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia, photos taken during that period appear to show him in both Spain and Serbia.
In the statement, he apologized for the false statement, saying it had been submitted “by my support team on my behalf”, calling it “a human error and certainly not deliberate.” He declined to comment further, adding only that he hoped to play in the Australian Open and “compete against the best players in the world.”
The penalty for submitting a false travel statement has a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison, according to the Australian Home Office website.
“As publicly noted, Minister Hawke is considering whether to cancel Mr Djokovic’s visa under Section 133C (3) of the Migration Act,” a spokesman for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said Wednesday. “Mr. Djokovic’s attorneys have recently provided lengthy additional submissions and supporting evidence that is said to be relevant to the possible cancellation of Mr. Djokovic’s visa. Obviously, this will affect the time frame for a decision.”
Although the judge had overturned the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa, Hawke could still use his personal power to revoke it – which could lead to another legal standoff.