A journalist association has hit out at Novak Djokovic after it emerged he turned up for an interview in the knowledge he had Covid-19.
Djokovic admitted that an "error in judgement" saw him break isolation rules to speak to a reporter from French publication L’Equipe on December 18.
He said in a statement on Instagram: "I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L'Equipe interview as I didn't want to let the journalist down. I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.
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“While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgment and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.”
The Serb is embroiled in controversy after arriving in Melbourne unvaccinated and relying on a medical exemption to compete.
He was initially detained for four days after Australian Border Force rejected his visa, but was eventually let into the country on Monday after a judge overruled the decision. Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke could yet cancel Djokovic's visa for a second time before the Australian Open gets underway on January 17.
Now the International Tennis Writers Association (ITWA) have added their voice to the criticism.
“The news that Novak Djokovic did not tell one of our members – and the rest of the L’Equipe team on the day – that he had tested positive for Covid-19 is deeply concerning,” the ITWA told CNN.
“As journalists, we take great care to adhere to all Covid-19 rules in place and we would expect all players to do the same.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that journalists have to be fully vaccinated to travel to Melbourne for this year’s Australian Open.”
Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open winner, has also claimed that an administrative error by his support team led to an incorrect declaration that he had not travelled for two weeks before his flight to Australia.
The Australian Open begins on January 17.
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