Skip to content

Peak is yet to come as France hits record number of daily cases, Health Minister says

(Darrian Traynor / Getty Images)

Two journalists working for French sports newspaper L’Equipe were not informed that Novak Djokovic tested positive for Covid before, during or after a 33-minute interview with the tennis star in Belgrade on December 18, the outlet reported on Wednesday. .

Journalists Franck Ramella and photographer Etienne Garnier reported that Djokovic looked “fine”, although it later emerged that he had been diagnosed with Covid-19 two days earlier.

Separately, on Wednesday, Djokovic admitted that he was aware of the positive diagnosis at the time of the interview and apologized.

The L’Equipe article indicates that Ramella has since tested negative for Covid-19, but it does not mention Garnier’s health.

Ramella told CNN he is on his way to Melbourne to cover the Australian Open.

Djokovic, who is not vaccinated, is currently fighting to be allowed into Australia to participate in the tournament.

He asked for an exemption from Australian rules requiring arrivals to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, using a positive test result on December 16 as proof he should be allowed to enter the country. Photos posted on social media show him unmasked at events in mid-December,

While Djokovic admitted on Wednesday that he did not immediately isolate himself after testing positive for Covid-19, he denied knowing he had the virus when he attended public events.

The interview of French journalists with Djokovic was carried out in Belgrade at the player’s Novak Center, L’Equipe reported.

“As we waited about 90 minutes, the (masked) staff offered us an excellent assortment of sliced ​​fruit. Finally, Djokovic arrived, all smiles, also masked, ”we read in a CNN translation of the article in French.

It is not known whether staff at the Novak Center were aware of Djokovic’s positive diagnosis.

The article admitted that Djokovic had kept his mask on for the duration of the indoor interview, but removed it when asked to pose for a professional photo without him.

“For thirty-three minutes, according to the stopwatch on the recorder, Djokovic answered questions confidently. We were safe, face to face almost three feet apart, seated on either side of a long rectangular table. When Etienne asked him to remove his mask for five minutes during the interview, Djokovic refused, ”we read in the article.

“Then the photo shoot took place. Obviously, the Serbian champion has removed his mask. We didn’t want him to pose with his face half covered. Then he followed the instructions of Etienne, who was masked. He held the trophy at arm’s length, moving from position to position, smiling or smiling to show that he had won. He also cried out to make it even more authentic, ”the story continues.

The article was published just hours before Djokovic apologized for sticking to the interview appointment despite being aware of his positive PCR diagnosis in a test carried out two more days. early.

“I felt compelled to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the reporter down, but I made sure to distance myself socially and wear a mask except when my photo was taken, “Djokovic wrote in a statement. published Wednesday on his social media accounts.

“As I returned home after the interview to self-isolate for the required period, upon reflection it was an error in judgment and I accept that I should have postponed this engagement.”