Sydney, Australia, Jan 12 (EFE).- Novak Djokovic on Wednesday said a “human error” was made in his travel declaration to enter Australia as his stay in the country hangs in the balance.
In the Australian Travel Declaration (ATD) released among the athlete’s documents during his court appeal, Djokovic had checked “no” when asked if he had traveled or would travel in the 14 days prior to his flight to Australia.
But according to various social media posts, Djokovic appears to have spent Christmas in Belgrade before flying out of Spain to Melbourne on Jan. 4 with a transit in Dubai.
On Wednesday Djokovic, 34, said the ATD had been submitted on his behalf by his support team, and was an “administrative mistake.”
“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate,” he wrote, adding that additional information was provided to the Australian government on Wednesday to clarify the matter.
The ATD warns that “giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. You may also be liable to a civil penalty for giving false or misleading information.”
Despite a Melbourne court overturning the cancellation of his visa (for matters related to his exemption from vaccination) on Monday, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke may still use his personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa again and deport him, but is yet to make a decision.
Hawke’s spokesperson said new “lengthy further submissions and supporting documentation” received from Djokovic’s lawyers “will affect the timeframe for a decision,” making it unlikely the decision would be made Wednesday, public broadcaster ABC reported.
Meanwhile, in his statement, Djokovic also addressed speculation about whether he had knowingly attended public events after testing positive for Covid-19 last month in Serbia.
He said he had attended a basketball game on Dec. 14 after which attendees tested positive, so on Dec. 16 he took a PCR test.
On Dec. 17 he said he took a rapid test, which was negative, and then attended a “tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children.”
He said he had “not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event.”
His court documents, however, showed his test was taken at 1.05pm on the Dec. 16, and the results came back eight hours later at 8.19pm.
Djokovic continued to say that the day after the tennis event, on Dec. 18 he attended a media interview that he felt “obliged to go ahead and conduct … but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask, except when my photograph was being taken.”
“On reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment,” he added.
The tennis star finished by saying he had wanted to “clarify misinformation” and would not be making further comment.
Djokovi arrived in Melbourne last Wednesday night with a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open without being vaccinated.
However, border officials revoked his visa citing insufficient evidence, and sent him to an immigration detention hotel where he was held until the court overruled it on Monday. EFE