Novak Djokovic has promised to tell his side of the story over his deportation from Australia “in seven to 10 days”.
Breaking his silence over his expulsion from the country last month during an audience with Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic, the world No 1 urged patience ahead of his return to the court at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
There remain several unanswered questions about the events that led to Djokovic being detained and thrown out of Australia following an outcry over his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
He said: “Please be patient, as I will talk in more detail about everything that happened there in seven to 10 days.”
Turning to President Vucic, Djokovic added: “I wanted to see you first of all because, as a citizen of Serbia, I felt a great need to thank you for the great support you gave me as President of Serbia.
“Although I was alone in detention in Australia and faced many problems and challenges, I did not feel lonely.
“You stood up and stood behind me and put yourself in a compromised political position, within the framework of international relations, and that is why I am extremely grateful. I will remember that.”
President Vucic hailed Djokovic for “glorifying our country” despite admitting he had urged him to leave Australia upon receiving a call from the tennis star following his detention.
Thursday’s audience took place after prosecutors in Serbia said there was no evidence the positive coronavirus test at the centre of the Djokovic deportation furore was falsified.
The Belgrade Public Prosecutor’s office released a statement saying it was satisfied paperwork submitted by Djokovic’s lawyers during his failed legal battle to avoid being thrown out of Australia was “valid”.
The announcement came days after John McEnroe called for an investigation into the positive test result amid increasing doubts over the timing of it.
“The prosecution acted according to the regulations, checks were performed, and it was determined that Novak Djokovic was tested several times and that the certificates on the test results from 16 December 2021 and 22 December 2021 are valid,” the statement said.
Research conducted last month by a German group called Zerforschung, which partnered with Der Spiegel, flagged up a discrepancy between the dates and serial numbers on those certificates.
The BBC said last week it had obtained evidence that appeared to show the serial number on the document stating Djokovic tested positive on December 16 was not only out of sequence with his December 22 negative test but also with a sample of tests from Serbia over the same period.
It found that serial number fell between those obtained from tests carried out between December 25 and 28.