MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Novak Djokovic has decided to clarify how errors were made on the immigration document he submitted when he arrived in Melbourne last week, before his visa was revoked and then reinstated in a COVID-19 vaccination saga that eclipsed the days before the Australian Open.
A statement was posted on Djokovic’s social media accounts on Wednesday as the men’s tennis No.1 was at Rod Laver Arena for a training session against 20-year-old Australian Tristan Schoolkate.
The nine-time defending Australian Open champion is in limbo ahead of the start of the year’s first major tennis tournament next Monday. Djokovic won a legal battle on Monday allowing him to stay in the country, but he still faces the prospect of deportation as he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Reports have revealed that he witnessed events in his native Serbia last month while he was contagious, and that he made mistakes on an immigration form to enter Australia that could potentially result in the cancellation of his visa.
On the form, Djokovic said he had not traveled in the 14 days before his flight to Australia. The Monte-Carlo-based athlete was seen in Spain and Serbia during that two-week period.
In a statement posted on Instagram, Djokovic called the speculation “hurtful” and said he wanted to tackle “continued disinformation” in an effort to “alleviate broader community concerns about my presence in Australia.”
Djokovic said he had taken rapid tests which came back negative in the days leading up to his return positive on a test he performed out of “over-caution” because he was asymptomatic.
He responded to the travel declaration saying that it had been submitted on his behalf by his support team and “my agent sincerely apologizes for the administrative error by checking the wrong box”.
“It was human error and certainly not deliberate,” he wrote. “The team has provided additional information to the Australian government to clarify this issue.”
The question is whether he has a valid exemption from the rules requiring vaccination to enter Australia since he recently recovered from COVID-19.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s office said Djokovic’s legal team had filed further submissions against the potential cancellation of his visa.
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