Journalist's disturbing claim about interview with Novak Djokovic

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Novak Djokovic, pictured here conducting an interview and photoshoot with L'Equipe while Covid positive.
Novak Djokovic conducted an interview and photoshoot with L'Equipe while Covid positive. Image: Twitter/Getty

A French journalist who conducted an interview and photoshoot with Novak Djokovic while the tennis star was Covid positive says he wasn't told about the Covid case until weeks later.

Djokovic made the startling admission on Wednesday that he conducted an interview and photoshoot with French magazine L'Equipe just one day after learning that he had Covid.

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Djokovic claims to have contracted Covid on the 16th of December and conducted the interview with L'Equipe on the 18th when he should have been isolating.

"On 18 December I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfil a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events except for the L’Equipe interview," Djokovic said on Wednesday.

"I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken."

But according to Franck Ramella - the L'Equipe journalist who interviewed Djokovic - he was never told about the Covid case and only found out about it this week.

Ramella said he only learned “three weeks later” that Djokovic had tested positive, but that he himself had tested negative after the interview.

Ramella said a L’Equipe photographer asked Djokovic to remove his mask for five minutes during the interview, but he refused.

However Djokovic was maskless during the photoshoot and was snapped roaring at the camera with his mouth wide open.

Ramella has also revealed that he was instructed not to ask Djokovic about his vaccination status during the interview.

“The instructions were clear - no questions about vaccination," Ramella wrote.

“So we didn’t ask him if he had made efforts to get tested. If we had asked him, what would have been the point?”

Fresh suspicions over legitimacy of Djokovic's Covid case

Ramella's claim that he didn't find out about Djokovic's Covid case until weeks later appears to fuel mounting speculation about the legitimacy of the tennis star's story.

Djokovic used his Covid case to gain a medical exemption to play the Australian Open, however some have questioned whether he had Covid at all.

Fresh suspicions were raised on Tuesday when the digital copy of Djokovic's positive PCR test appeared to show discrepancies.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here speaking to coach Goran Ivanisivic during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic speaks to coach Goran Ivanisivic during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

A number of journalists reported that the result had changed from negative to positive after they'd scanned the QR code attached.

The identification number of the positive is also higher than that of a negative test Djokovic returned six days later, appearing to suggest it may have occurred much later than the 16th.

Max Hoppenstedt of Der Spiegel reported: "The timestamp for the digital version of his positive test indicates the result may actually be from the 26th of December.

"The digital data suggests that the test results aren’t from Dec 16 at all. In the digital results, there is a timestamp for 2:21 p.m. Serbian time on Dec 26.

Der Spiegel quoted IT company Zerforschung as saying: "Based on these pieces of evidence, the most plausible explanation is that the positive test result was added to the official Serbian database on the 26th of December, and not on the 16th."

with agencies

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