Australian government probing claims Novak Djokovic lied on travel entry form


Australian government investigating claims Novak Djokovic lied on travel entry form

The Serbian tennis star’s visa could be cancelled for a second time (Pictures: AP/AAP)

Novak Djokovic spent a second day training at the Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday but his chances of defending his Australian Open title remain in doubt as Immigration Minister Alex Hawke continues to weigh up whether to cancel the world number one’s visa again.

The Serbian tennis star won a court battle to stay in the country on Monday after Judge Anthony Kelly ruled his visa should be reinstated because he was not given enough time to prove he had a visa exemption.

Mr Hawke has since been considering whether to use his personal power under the Migration Act to cancel Djokovic’s visa on public health grounds – a decision which will now run into Wednesday at least.

Australian government investigating claims Novak Djokovic lied on travel entry form

Aerial footage captured Djokovic practicing at the Rod Laver Arena (Picture: AP)

According to Aussie newspaper The Age, part of the reason for the hold up is because the government are looking into a discrepancy on Djokovic’s Australia Travel Declaration form.

The form – which was submitted by Djokovic’s lawyers as part of his hearing – shows that he selected ‘No’ when asked if he had travelled in the 14 days prior to his flight to Australia.

Alongside the question there is also a warning which reads: ‘Note: Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. You may also be liable to a civil penalty for giving false or misleading information.’

However, Djokovic may in fact have travelled during that two-week window, having been in Belgrade on December 25 before appearing in Marbella on January 2 – just a couple of days before he flew to Australia.

The tennis ace said he had not travelled elsewhere prior to flying to Australia (Picture: Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia)

Djokovic previously told border officials that Tennis Australia had completed the declaration form on his behalf, which could potentially allow him to escape any further sanctions.

Nevertheless, the Australian government intend to investigate the matter, which comes just a day after Djokovic’s brother, Djordje, shut down a press conference after being asked why the 20-time Slam winner was mixing as normal, without a mask, the day after his lawyers say he tested positive for Covid.

The nine-time Australian Open champ received a positive PCR test result around 8pm on December 16 but was pictured maskless at an award ceremony for young players the day after, while French newspaper L’Equipe say he took part in a photoshoot – again, maskless – on December 18.

That could be used as part of the government’s fresh efforts to cancel Djokovic’s visa and sources close to the matter suggest the longer it drags on, the more likely that is to happen.

A spokesperson for the Immigration Minister confirmed the matter is still being deliberated, saying: ‘In line with due process, Minister Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter. As the issue is ongoing, for legal reasons it is inappropriate to comment further.’

Serbia's Novak Djokovic's father Srdjan, center, brother Djordje, right, and mother Dijana attend a press conference in Belgrade

Djokovic’s family refused to entertain questions about whether the tennis star isolated after testing positive for Covid (Picture: AP)

The decision is now expected on Wednesday and Djokovic remains in limbo despite being given permission to train at the Rod Laver Arena for the second day in a row, with helicopter photos showing the Serb being put through his paces on the court.

He is also believed to have used the gym facilities, stunning many of his fellow tennis players when he arrived.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, meanwhile, spoke with Serbian counterpart Ana Brnabic on Tuesday morning to discuss Djokovic’s situation in what was described as a ‘constructive call’.

MORE : Novak Djokovic’s family stop press conference after being asked details on positive Covid result

MORE : When Novak Djokovic will find out final Australian Open fate as minister debates cancelling visa again

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