Serbia’s state prosecutors on Wednesday rejected suggestions that Novak Djokovic used a fake positive test for Covid-19 to try to enter Australia and compete in the Australian Open.
The prosecution office said in a statement that it had received a request for criminal proceedings against unnamed individuals who allegedly forged two PCR certificates, which were later used by Djokovic to apply for a medical exemption from vaccination when entering Australia.
“The prosecution acted according to the regulations, checks were performed, and it was determined that Novak Djokovic was tested several times and that the certificates on the test results from 16 December 2021 and 22 December 2021 are valid,” the statement said.
Outlets including Der Spiegel and the BBC, have reported discrepancies in the serial numbers of the tests Serbian authorities administered to Djokovic ahead of his trip to Australia, suggesting possible irregularities in the way they were issued.
Djokovic was deported from Australia and barred from playing in the Australian Open last month after an 11-day visa saga. To enter Australia, Djokovic submitted a positive Covid-19 test issued in Serbia on 16 December for a visa exemption on the grounds that he had recently recovered from the virus. The 34-year-old is not vaccinated, and the Australian government later decided to cancel his visa and deport Djokovic, saying his presence in the country could stir anti-vaccination sentiments.
Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open on Sunday for a record 21st men’s grand slam title. Djokovic and Roger Federer both have 20 major titles.
Djokovic is a national hero in Serbia. Since he returned home, Djokovic was seen visiting churches and attending liturgies in Serbia and neighboring Montenegro.
On Thursday, Djokovic is set to visit Serbia’s populist President Aleksandar Vucic, who has been vocal in denouncing the Australian authorities for deporting the tennis star.