‘Seeing the Photo of Me Unmasked With Children’: Novak Djokovic Tries to Fathom the Public Anger From Belgrade Kids Event

Published 02/16/2022, 1:57 PM EST

The Australian Open fortnight will be remembered for certain magnanimous performances from both ATP and WTA players with Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty ending up as eventual winners. However, days before the start of the tournament, the entire attention was on world no.1 Novak Djokovic and his medically exempted entry into Australia.

Novak Djokovic talks about the Belgrade kids event he attended in December 2021

After getting deported from the land down under, Djokovic spent time at home and also at his tennis center before giving an interview to the BBC to explain his version of events. When the interviewer asked about Novak attending a kids event testing positive for COVID-19, the 20-time Grand Slam champion revealed that the backlash from the public was genuine and understandable.

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I would say that I understand. I really do. I understand when they, in the context of everything that was happening in Australia, seeing the photo of me unmasked with children, when the night before, the institute of public health sent the PCR test and that I have not seen before that event and I must say that also, I was asymptomatic.”

Watch this story: From Locker Room Fight to Deportation: Biggest Australian Open Controversies

Djokovic wanted to present the awards himself to the kids

Djokovic also explained that there was a genuine reason behind him attending that kids event.

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So, I felt refined, you know, I took the rapid antigen test that morning as you mentioned, it was negative. I wanted to be there for the children. I know how much it means to them, you know, for me to give them an award and they worked hard for that. That’s all I can say really.”

Tennis – ATP Finals – Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy – November 15, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his group stage match against Norway’s Casper Ruud REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Djokovic’s explanation might still not go well with fans but at-least he accepted that there was an error in judgement from his side. Through this interview, the world no.1 managed to elucidate the events from his side but refused to change his stance over getting jabbed.

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This puts Djokovic in a tricky situation as there will be uncertainty regarding his participation at several tournaments on the ATP tour this season. However, there are going to be few events that will be welcoming the 20-time Grand Slam champion if there are no stringent guidelines imposed by the respective governments.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

819 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Sagar has completed his graduation in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

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