Serbian Prime Minister offers guarantee Novak Djokovic will comply with Australian regulations if allowed to stay

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has said her government is ready to guarantee that world number one in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic, will comply with local regulations if he is allowed to stay in Melbourne and compete in the Australian Open. .

His comments came after it was alleged that Djokovic attended a Belgrade Tennis Association event without wearing a mask on December 17 – the day after he tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time.

Ms Brnabić said Djokovic would have “clearly violated the rules” in force in Serbia if the tennis star had known of his test result before taking part in the event, but added that more information on the incident were needed.

“I don’t know when he received the test result, when he read it,” Ms. Brnabić said.

When asked what would happen if it turned out that Djokovic had broken the quarantine rules, she said the Serbian government “would take care of it”.

“In the end, they made public some of Novak’s medical documentation, which I’m not even sure it was right of them to make public, because it is not fair to make public the anyone’s medical documentation, unless they have Novak’s express consent for it. “

“Neither optimist nor pessimist”

A woman in a gray coat and white shirt smiles as she poses for a photo in an office with a Serbian flag on it.
Ms Brnabić says the uncertainty over whether Djokovic can play is not good for the Australian Open.(Reuters: Zorana Jevtic)

Non-residents not vaccinated against COVID-19 cannot enter Australia unless they have been granted an exemption. Djokovic, who is not vaccinated, based his exemption on the fact that he contracted the virus last month.

Australian Border Force canceled his visa before Djokovic had that decision overturned by the Federal Circuit Court.

However, the fate of the tennis star remains uncertain as Immigration Minister Alex Hawke continues to consider whether to use his ministerial powers to cancel the Serbian star’s visa.

If that happens, it could mean Djokovic is banned from entering Australia for three years, although blackout periods are carried out on a case-by-case basis.

This investigation could focus on whether or not Djokovic lied about his entry papers about his trip before coming to Australia.

Ms Brnabić, who recently spoke to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, said she was “neither optimistic nor pessimistic” about whether Djokovic would be allowed to stay in Australia, where he hopes to win a world record. 21st Grand Slam title.

“I hope the final decision will be announced soon,” she said.

“The uncertainty is not good for any of the stakeholders, neither Djokovic nor the Australian Open.”

ABC / Reuters

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