Novak Djokovic set foot for the first time on the site of the Australian Open and his short Arthur Ashe on Tuesday. All smiles: the Serbian had won a precious legal victory against the Australian government the day before. The champion, who arrived in Melbourne on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, had his visa canceled and spent the next four days in a immigration detention center before the judge of the federal court in Melbourne upheld his case on Monday.
The world number one does not have anything to be totally relieved for as much. His participation is still pending: his visa can still be revoked. A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he “Was considering canceling Novak Djokovic’s visa” using his ministerial powers, but declined to say more on legal grounds.
Above all, new elements could weaken the position of the world number one. One: Contrary to what he said in an official document filled out when he arrived in Australia, the 34-year-old traveled between Serbia and Spain at the end of December, as evidenced by several publications in the international press and on social networks.
Two: a collaboration between the very serious German daily Der Spiegel and the independent online data analysis site Zerforschung this Tuesday sheds light on another disturbing detail among the documents provided by the Djokovic clan.
When he landed in the country on January 5, the nine-time winner of the Australian Open was provided with a medical exemption from vaccination justified by two PCR test certificates. One positive for Covid, dated December 16, 2021. The other negative, dated December 22.
However, according to the survey carried out by the German media, the positive test was actually carried out on December 26. In Serbia, PCR test results are recorded in a central register that lists all test results, accessible via a QR code on the person’s test certificate.
By scanning the QR code, the patient can only access part of the information about the test: the name of the person being tested, the test result and a test number. In theory, therefore, it is not possible to verify when the test was performed. Except that the QR code also allows access, in the URL of the file, to the number corresponding to the “Unix timestamp”: a date measurement format representing the quantity of seconds elapsed since January 1, 1970 at midnight.
By converting this sort of time stamp, the journalists were able to verify whether the dates mentioned by the Djokovic clan corresponded to the Unix number. In the negative test of December 22, the timestamp and date of the test certificate match. For the champion’s positive PCR test, which according to the court document was assessed on December 16, the test identification number of 16 (1640 524 880) would correspond not to 16 but to one of those listed in the day of December 26.
Up to three years suspension in the event of tampering
In other words: the Serbian clan would have falsified the positive test carried out by Djokovic on December 26, antedating it by ten days. The maneuver would tend to explain why the Serb appeared in the midst of the public without a mask on December 17 and 18, as several posts on social networks have shown. This theory is also supported by the number of the positive test (n ° 7371999), which would be after the negative one of December 22 (n ° 7320919).
Has the Serbian falsified the dates of his tests to be sure to comply with the protocol in force at the Australian Open? According to the regulations and the criteria for benefiting from a medical exemption, a player who tests positive for Covid must have provided a negative test dating at least 14 days to claim to participate in the tournament. And the Open is supposed to start on January 17th.
In a letter addressed to the players last November, the ATP had however been clear: a player guilty of a false declaration concerning his vaccination status will be punished by the instance. The sanctions mentioned in the text range from a simple fine (up to $ 100,000) and / or suspension from participation in ATP Tour or ATP Challenger tournaments for a period of up to three years.