Former world No.9 Fabio Fognini has cast doubt over Novak Djokovic’s alleged positive Covid test in December, which was a crucial part of his Australian Open ordeal last month. Fognini, who won the Australian Open doubles title in 2015, also claims that he spoke with the Serb after his controversial deportation.
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Djokovic’s positive test formed part of a medical vaccine exemption that he believed would grant him entry into Australia.
But the unvaccinated tennis star was met with hostility after landing in Melbourne, and was kept in an immigration detention centre for several days.
After a judge cleared him to play, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke stepped in and deported the 20-time Grand Slam champion on grounds that it could stir up anti-vaccine sentiment in the country.
The legitimacy of Djokovic’s positive test, which was allegedly recorded in December, has been called into question by BBC research.
He was also seen without a mask in public the day after he was supposed to have tested positive, and admitted to knowing about his positive test when attending an interview with a French journalist in December.
Djokovic has broadly withdrawn from the public eye in recent weeks, and Fognini cast doubt on the fiasco by admitting that ‘only he knows’ whether his test was truly positive.
“I spoke to Djokovic when they kicked him out of Australia,” the Italian told El Grafico.
“It was all very crazy. He fought it because he knew he could do it.
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“Only he knows if he had Covid. It’s very private.
“It was sad: there was more talk about it than a Grand Slam. I don’t want to say anything else. I would have liked to see him play.”
To rub salt into the 34-year-old’s wounds, ‘big three’ rival Rafael Nadal went on to win the Aussie Open title in his absence, taking him one clear on the all-time list with 21 major titles.
And Djokovic’s complications may not end there, with more expected to come at Indian Wells, a tournament often termed the ‘fifth Grand Slam’.
He is on the entry list, but the United States’ Covid vaccine entry requirements suggest that he will run into trouble unless his stance changes.