When asked if he had made any mistakes on his immigration documents, tennis star Novak Djokovic admits to meeting with a journalist while he tested positive for Covid-19.
Djokovic made the disclosures in an Instagram post, stating that he was doing so to clear up “ongoing misconception” about his whereabouts.
The world No.1 men’s tennis player hopes to compete in the Australian Open next week.
However, a squabble over his visa has overshadowed his ability to participate.
Novak Djokovic Australian Visa
Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated, had his visa denied on 6 January, shortly after arriving in Australia, due to concerns about the vaccine exemption that would have allowed him to enter without a vaccination.
On Monday, however, a court threw out the ruling and ordered the player’s release from detention.
Nonetheless, the government has not ruled out taking additional action. It is possible that the country’s immigration minister Alex Hawke could cancel his visa for a second time just days before the tournament gets underway.
Hawke has the authority to revoke the visa if the applicant has had prior COVID-19 infections that do not qualify for an exemption.
Novak Djokovic COVID-19 Violations
However, an examination into Djokovic’s arrival form and suspected violations of Serbia’s Covid guidelines could result in his visa being revoked on “character grounds,” according to the Serbian government.
In the event that Djokovic wins the Australian Open, which would be his 21st Grand Slam title, he will surpass Pete Sampras as the most successful male tennis player in history.
In his Instagram post, Djokovic said he went ahead with the interview, with the French title L’Equipe, because he “didn’t want to let the journalist down”.
“[I ensured] I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken,” he said.
In a piece, L’Equipe revealed that the tennis player wore a mask during the entire event, even when their reporter urged him to take it off for five minutes.
The journalist, Franck Ramella, stated that he had been instructed not to inquire about Djokovic’s vaccination status or the impending Australian Open.
As a result, he did not inquire as to whether he had considered taking the test.
Novak Djokovic False Claim
Djokovic stirred controversy after it emerged that he made a false claim on his entry visa application form prior to entering Australia.
Djokovic admitted to making a false claim on his entry visa application form, and he stated that his team has submitted additional material to authorities.
He said that his agent had made a clerical error when filling out a part of the application form that inquired about his recent travel history. A statement was made on the form to the effect that he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia.
However, according to recent sources, the 34-year-old had already visited Serbia and Spain before embarking on the trip.
Djokovic explained that it was not intentional.
Covid Positive Test
The tennis player said he got infected with Covid while attending two events – the launch of a Djokovic stamp and an awards ceremony that was attended by children – while afflicted last year.
After attending a basketball game two days prior, he posted on Instagram that he had done a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on the 16th and that a lot of others had tested positive as a result.
In an interview with ESPN, Djokovic said that he had done a quick antigen test prior to attending both events and had just received notification that his PCR had been positive after attending the awards ceremony on December 17.
Australia’s Border Force, the country’s immigration officers, said on Tuesday that they were looking into whether he had submitted a “false declaration,” which may result in his visa being revoked.
The men’s professional tennis tour has called for greater clarity in the laws governing entry into Australia and has recommended players get immunized before travelling there.
Novak Djokovic Detention
Last week, Djokovic’s visa was revoked and he was detained at a government-run hotel in Melbourne. His legal team moved to court and petitioned the visa revocation.
Judge Antony Keller on Monday reinstated Djokovic’s visa and ordered the government to pay the cost of his detention.
The Federal Circuit Court said Djokovic was not given enough time to prove he had a valid COVID-19 vaccine exemption.
However, Hawke could use his personal power under the Migration Act to reject Djokovic’s visa on public health grounds. But his office on Tuesday afternoon indicated the minister was still evaluating the situation.
The federal government argues it was appropriate to reject Djokovic’s visa last week on the premise that a prior COVID-19 infection in the past six months is not a viable reason to have an exemption for being unvaccinated.
The court never ruled on that matter because the federal government recognized it did not provide Djokovic procedural fairness.
Former New Zealand immigration minister, Sir Kerry Burke, suggested Mr Hawke should cancel Djokovic’s visa.