Questions have arisen over the validity and timing of the positive Covid test results Novak Djokovic used to try to enter Australia before he was deported from the country.
The antivaxx tennis star provided two documents to a federal court in Australia as evidence of his positive status in a bid to avoid rules banning unvaccinated people from entering.
But the serial number on his test from December 16 appears higher than the one on his second test on December 22, the BBC reports.
The code on the first test also appears to be out of sequence with a sample of tests taken in Serbia over the same period, suggesting they were submitted at a later date.
The world number one’s application was rejected by Australian authorities, but not on these grounds.
Novak Djokovic, center, with mask arrives in the municipal building in Budva, Montenegro, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. Djokovic arrived to receive a plaque declaring him an honorary citizen of the town
Questions have arisen over the validity and timing of the positive Covid test results Novak Djokovic used to try to enter Australia
The documents submitted to Australian authorities show Djokovic supposedly first tested positive on December 16, and has the serial number 7371999
But the second test result, supposedly taken on December 22, has a lower serial number of 7320919
Among the documents submitted to their federal court was one from the acting director of Serbia’s official health body which confirmed the dates on the certificates.
The tennis star underwent two tests in his home country and received the results from the Institute of Public Health of Serbia, each with a unique confirmation code.
Data analysed by the BBC shows the confirmation code on the certificates increases chronologically.
The earlier the date the test was carried out, the lower the serial number.
Djokovic’s documents appear to be the only ones where the second test has a lower serial number than the first.
His positive test on December 16 has the code 7371999, while the second document has the number 7320919.
The tennis star, pictured receiving the Honorary citizen of the city of Budva award today, is facing scrutiny over his Covid tests
Djokovic, bottom left, poses with top local official Marko Carevic, bottom center, and children in the municipal building in Budva today
Adding to the mystery, it appears the code on the first test suggests it was taken at a later date, between December 25 and December 28.
Djokovic’s two tests were carried out in different laboratories, meaning it is possible they could have been issued with different confirmation codes.
But analysis from other tests processed at the same labs shortly after Djokovic’s results have lower serial numbers.
Tests seen at the lab on two days and four days after his sample both have lower confirmation codes, again questioning the timing of his tests.
Also, data across eight different Serbian labs suggests there is no discrepancy between them on the consistency of the serial numbers.
Djordje Krivokapic, a specialist in data and digital security, said: ‘There is always the possibility for a glitch.
‘But if that were the case, there would be a simple explanation. I don’t see why the state authorities wouldn’t just say that.’
The BBC contacted Djokovic, the Serbian health authorities and government but have yet to receive a response.
MailOnline has also contacted Djokovic’s representatives.
The world number one, pictured on his flight to Belgrade after leaving Australia, was booted out of the country ahead of the Open
The allegations come after it was announced yesterday the tennis star won’t return to the court for another month after his unceremonious departure from Australia.
His headline place in the star-studded field for the Dubai Tennis Championships was confirmed by the event organisers on Thursday.
The 20-time grand slam winner had his entry visa to Australia finally cancelled on the eve of the Open after a week and half of extraordinary drama.
Djokovic, who had told officials he was not vaccinated against Covid, believed he would be eligible to enter the country and compete after supposedly testing positive for coronavirus in December and making a full recovery.
But Dubai doesn’t have the same strict conditions for entry as Australia, and he will be able to compete at the tournament he’s won five times previously if he produces a negative PCR test result when he arrives.
The sports star was detained at Sydney airport on arrival, had his visa torn up, and was then put in migrant detention while the issue bounced between the courts and government.
The 34-year-old was eventually deported when Australia’s immigration minister personally intervened in the row to deny him entry, subsequently banning him from the country for three years.
While the government insists ‘rules are rules’, the episode led to furious allegations by Serbia that their sporting star had been singled out for political reasons.