Novak Djokovic ‘hugged kids’ at event day after alleged positive Covid-19 test

Novak Djokovic was pictured at a PR event with dozens of children the day after his lawyers allege he tested positive for Covid-19.

Djokovic attended three separate events in his native Serbia across December 16 and 17.

Maskless, Djokovic was pictured as a panelist an an indoor discussion for his charity foundation, and also shared pictures on his Instagram page of him receiving a stamp made in his honour.

A day later, he attended an award ceremony at the Tennis Association of Belgrade where he was pictured hugging kids.

It is unclear whether Djokovic was aware of his alleged positive Covid test.

Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against coronavirus, landed in Melbourne earlier this week ahead of the Australian Open having been granted a medical exemption to play.

But he was refused entry into the country when he arrived by the Border Force and held in the airport while his visa was examined and ultimately cancelled.

Djokovic has appealed the decision and is being held in a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, though Australian officials insist he is free to leave the country at any time he chooses.

The appeal is set to be heard on Monday.

Djokovic's lawyers claimed he tested positive for Covid-19 just a couple of weeks before arriving in Australia.

"Mr Djokovic had received, on 30 December 2021, a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia (‘Exemption Certificate’) recording that he had been provided with a ‘medical exemption from COVID vaccination’ on the ground that he had recently recovered from COVID," the document reads.

"The Exemption Certificate also recorded that … the date of the first positive COVID PCR test was recorded on 16 December 2021, it had now been 14 days, and Mr Djokovic had not had a fever or respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 72 hours."

The World No.1 travelled to Australia in the hope of winning his 21st Grand Slam title to surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic believed he had papers from the Department of Home Affairs stating he met the requirements to travel with quarantine.

Tennis Australia (TA), meanwhile, told players they could enter the country without being vaccinated if they had tested positive within the last six months.

They said in a statement: "The following has now been clarified as a category for which you may be eligible for a temporary medical exemption: Recent PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (after 31 July 2021) where a vaccination can be deferred until six months after the infection."

TA also declared that applications for medical exemption must be sent on or by 10 December 2021, which is six days before Djokovic tested positive.

The sporting organisation's advice seemed to be contrast to the rules stipulated by Health Minister Greg Hun.

And upon landing at Melbourne Airport the Serbian superstar was denied entry with Australian Border Force (ABF) officials claiming he had "failed to provide appropriate evidence".

The latest developments come as Czech star Renata Voracova has been deported from Australia after her visa was cancelled by the Border Force.

Voracova departed Melbourne on a flight to Dubai on Saturday night local time after initially being held in the same quarantine hotel as Djokovic.

It is believed Voracova was granted the same exemption by Tennis Australia as Djokovic. She had already played in a warm-up competition Down Under.

But, unlike Djokovic, she has now left Australia without challenging the ruling.

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