What kind of punishment awaits a tennis player in Serbia for violating isolation measures


The best tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, may have managed to break through the Australian court to the tennis courts of the Australian Open, but the question is what awaits him in Serbia.

Medical documents released by his team during a court battle in Australia show that Djokovic tested positive for the corona virus on December 16.

However, on that day, as in the next two, he was seen in public several times, although he should be in isolation.

“It is a criminal offense, under Article 248 of the Criminal Procedure Code, for which either a fine or up to three years in prison is envisaged,” Dragisa Calic of the Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights (Yukom) told the BBC in Serbian.

Until the moment the text was published, the Institute for Public Health “Trampoline” did not answer the BBC’s questions in Serbian about when Djokovic was given a positive test for the corona virus.

In practice, says Ćalić, it is possible to reach an agreement with the prosecution and assign socially useful work to Đoković.

“The judge would look at the threat of punishment, what are the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and based on that, he would determine the sanction,” says Ćalić.

“The question is whether, having in mind that Djokovic is a public figure, he would go towards stricter punishment as an example to others, because the purpose of the sanction is to warn other perpetrators of criminal acts to deviate from that path.”

A man from Dimitrovgrad was first sentenced in March 2020 for violating self-isolation measures, to three and a half years in prison, and two people in Požarevac were soon sentenced to two and a half years.

“At the beginning of the epidemic, while still nothing was known and while we were all scared, the first penalties for violating isolation measures were quite drastic,” says Calic.

“However, as time went on, the fines were getting milder and milder, and at the moment they are mostly either conditional or fined around 100,000 to 150,000 dinars.”

The case of Djokovic’s PCR tests and his movements in Belgrade in those days caused great attention all over the world, especially after the press conference of Djokovic’s family, which was interrupted immediately after the question about the tennis player’s movements.

“The whole process is public, all published documents are legal,” Djordje Djokovic, Novak’s brother, answered briefly.

The Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, also spoke about the whole case for the BBC.

“That would be a clear violation of the rules – if you know you are positive, you should be in isolation,” Brnabic said.

“However, I don’t know when he got the results, when he saw them. It’s up to Novak to explain. “

Watch the video: Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic for the BBC on Djokovic’s PCR test

What did Djokovic say?

“I want to emphasize that I made an extraordinary effort to take care of everyone’s safety, as well as to adhere to testing,” Djokovic said in a statement today.

In that statement, Djokovic claims that it was only on December 17, after three events in which he was seen without a mask, that he learned that he was positive for kovid-19.

Until the moment the text was published, the Institute for Public Health “Trampoline” did not answer the BBC’s questions in Serbian about when Djokovic was given a positive test for the corona virus.

However, Djokovic states that a day later, when he already knew he was positive, he went to an interview for the French L’Equipe at his tennis center.

“I felt obliged to do an interview for L’Equipe because I did not want to betray the journalist, but I made sure to keep the prescribed distance and I wore a mask all the time, except when I was photographed,” said Djokovic.

“Although I went home after the interview to isolate myself for the necessary period, now that I think about it, it was a mistake and I accept that I should have postponed that obligation,” he added.

The Decree on Measures for the Prevention and Suppression of Covid-19 of the Government of Serbia determines 14 days of isolation for all those who are positive for the corona virus.

That measure, it is stated, ceases to be valid even after a negative PCR test.

Documents presented by Djokovic’s team before the court in Melbourne show that Novak was negative for the corona virus on December 22.

Watch the video: What Belgrade residents say about the Novak Djokovic case

Chronology of events – Belgrade

On December 14, 2021, in the Belgrade Pionir hall, the Red Star basketball players played a Euroleague match against Barcelona.

The red and whites lost that game 76:69, although a large number of fans cheered them on from the stands, including Djokovic.

The presence of the best tennis player in the world attracted a lot of attention from several Barcelona basketball players, who took pictures with Djokovic after the match.

Among them was Nigel Hayes-Davis, the best actor of that match, who was soon announced to be positive for the corona virus.

The documents that Djokovic’s team submitted to the court in Melbourne, during the fight over the abolition of visas, also list the tests that Novak did on December 16.

According to those documents, Djokovic was tested for the crown on December 16 at around 1 pm, and at around 8 pm the test showed that he was positive.

In a statement, Djokovic mentions the match between Zvezda and Barcelona, ​​stating that because of everything that happened there on December 16, he did a quick antigen test, which was negative.

“As a precaution, I also did a PCR test the same day,” he said.

However, on that day, as in the next two, Djokovic was present at several public events.

He first attended the panel “Through the Champions” on December 16, organized by his foundation, which was attended by Zeljko Obradovic, the coach of Partizan basketball players, as well as Sonja Vasic, a long-time basketball representative.

On the same day, Djokovic was at the ceremony of unveiling the postage stamp with his image.

The Post of Serbia, in a short answer for the BBC in Serbian, stated that the event was organized “with respect for all epidemiological measures and with a small number of people.”

The photos from that event show Djokovic without a protective mask.

A day later, on December 17, Djokovic presented awards to young tennis players at the event of the Belgrade Tennis Association.

In the photos published on social networks, it can be seen that Djokovic is without a protective mask, surrounded by a large group of young players.

Milan Slavkovic, president of the Belgrade Tennis Association, told the BBC in Serbian that their organization “does not deal with things outside the tennis court”, and that Djokovic has already spoken out about “all issues of wider importance”.

“The Tennis Association of Belgrade and I are overjoyed that the best tennis players in Belgrade had the opportunity to receive well-deserved trophies from the hands of the best tennis player in the world,” said Slavković.

“We have been waiting for that for nine years and we are very grateful to him (Djokovic) for his time – he is a role model for all children who play sports in Serbia and beyond,” he added.


Djokovic states in a statement that he did a quick antigen test that day, which was negative.

“I had no symptoms, I felt good and I was not informed about the positive PCR test until the end of that event,” Djokovic said.

Then came December 18, when Djokovic had an interview with the French L’Equipe, which recently awarded him the recognition for the best athlete in the world.

L’Equipe previously stated that Novak wore a mask during the interview, which he took off only for photography.

A journalist from a famous French newspaper later stated that Djokovic refused to take off his mask during the interview.

Djokovic was not in the public eye until December 25, when he was seen playing tennis on the street in Belgrade.

Documents submitted by his team to the court in Melbourne state that Djokovic did a PCR test on December 22, which showed that he was negative for the corona virus.

Chronology of events – Australia

  • Two independent commissions at the Australian Tennis Federation gave Djokovic a medical exemption from coronavirus vaccination on January 3rd
  • Djokovic landed in Melbourne on January 4, where the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, starts on January 17.
  • On the same day, he was detained and interrogated by the Australian Border Authorities for eight hours, claiming that he did not have a proper visa to enter the country.
  • Djokovic was then transferred to the Park Hotel in Melbourne, which is actually an immigration facility, along with refugees who have been there for years.
  • He had minimal opportunities for contact with the outside world
  • Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, said on January 5 that the authorities of the Australian state of Victoria gave permission to Djokovic to come to Australia, and the federal authorities will act in accordance with that decision. “That’s how it works, the federal states give their approval on that basis, and there have been no changes for two years,” Morrison said.
  • A day later, Morrison corrected his position, telling Djokovic that he would “return him home on the first plane if he did not provide evidence that he was not vaccinated against the crown for medical reasons.”
  • Novak Djokovic’s family held a press conference on January 6, claiming that he was being held captive and that he respected all the conditions for entering Australia.
  • Djokovic’s legal team appealed the decision to keep him and transfer him to an immigration hotel
  • Authorities in Serbia reacted sharply and asked Australia to “urgently stop harassing the Serbian tennis player, who also has a diplomatic passport.”
  • At the invitation of the family, rallies in support of the Serbian tennis player were held in the center of Belgrade on January 6 and 7
  • On January 7, Australian Interior Minister Karen Andrews denied that Djokovic was in captivity, adding that he was “free to leave at any time and that the Border Forces will allow him to do so.”
  • On January 7, Australian authorities denied a visa to Czech tennis player Renata Vorachova and transferred her to the same hotel as Djokovic.
  • On January 8, Djokovic’s lawyers published documents according to which he was exempted on the basis of a coronavirus virus – on December 16, 2021, his infection was confirmed.
  • So far, the public has not said that Djokovic was infected in December 2021, but it was only known that he was infected in June 2020.
  • Djokovic took part in public events in Belgrade a few days after the corona virus infection – he posted photos of some of them on his Twitter account.
  • An Australian court ruled in favor of Djokovic on January 10 – annulled the decision of the Australian authorities to cancel the visa and the request for deportation



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