World tennis number one Novak Djokovic appears to have been pictured with young players the day after his lawyers said he tested positive for COVID-19.
Djokovic is currently being held in an immigrant detention center in Australia after arriving in the country without proof of vaccination.
He is now fighting against expulsion from the country days before the start of the Australian Open which he hopes to compete in later this month.
The 34-year-old Serb, a vocal critic of mass vaccination, said in his court application that he had a valid visa and medical exemption from the tournament organizer because he had been tested positive for the coronavirus on December 16 of last year.
Deliveries of gluten-free food, exercise equipment and a SIM card to contact the family – the tennis star’s immigration detention conditions
However, a press release from the Serbian Tennis Association appears to show that Djokovic is meeting young tennis players the next day.
It is not known if Djokovic knew if he had COVID when the photos were taken.
The photographs come from an award ceremony that took place at the Novak Tennis Center in the Serbian capital Belgrade.
Djokovic can be seen standing with young people waving their trophies.
Another shows the reigning Australian Open winner standing in the back of a group photo.
Tennis Australia “did not knowingly mislead players”
Sky News was unable to confirm when the event took place, but the Serbian Tennis Association shared the footage on December 17 and said the ceremony was taking place “today”.
The press release specifies that the event was held “without a wider audience due to epidemiological measures due to the coronavirus pandemic”.
The date Djokovic said he tested positive for the coronavirus – December 16 – was the same day he received a stamp from the Serbian National Postal Service at the PTT museum in the capital Belgrade. He tweeted about the presentation the next day.
An honor to receive my own Serbian stamp. Thank you to my generous country for this rare gift! I am humiliated !! Happy to share, we will partner with the Serbian National Postal Service on @novakfoundation projects so that every child has the opportunity to go to kindergarten 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/Ww8Zma95NU
– Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) December 17, 2021
Reports say Tennis Australia has told unvaccinated players they could get a temporary exemption if they’ve recovered from COVID in the past six months, according to a leaked letter.
Tennis Australia said it did not knowingly mislead players and always urged players to get vaccinated.
Why is Djokovic being refused entry to Australia – and what are their travel rules?
“We have always been consistent in our communications to players that vaccination is the best course of action – not only as the right thing to do to protect yourself and others, but also as the best course of action to ensure that ‘They could arrive in Australia, “Tennis Australia said in a statement quoted by local media.
Djokovic was arrested after his visa was canceled on Thursday, hours after arriving at Melbourne airport.
Czech player’s visa revoked
The tennis player will argue for the reinstatement of his visa at a court hearing on Monday.
Djokovic had access to deliveries of gluten-free meals and exercise equipment while in migrant detention, according to the Serbian prime minister’s office.
Serbian officials “are doing everything to make the situation easier for Djokovic,” according to a statement.
It comes as two other people linked to the Australian Open have voluntarily left the country after being told to do so by border officials.
One of them is Czech player Renata Voracova, whose visa has also been revoked due to exemption issues.