Novak Djokovic admitted that he attended a photo shoot after testing positive for Covid-19 and said discrepancies on Australian entry documents were due to “human error”, which contributes to pressure on the tennis star as Canberra considers him deport.
The revelations could undermine the top-seeded player’s attempt to defend his title at the Australian Open next week, after he appeal won Monday against a government decision to cancel his visa.
The errors were revealed in court documents he provided to authorities, which were released after his legal victory this week. The errors contributed to the exclamation in Australia after social media posts apparently showed Djokovic masklessly at public events after his positive test.
Djokovic released a statement on Instagram on Wednesday in which he tried to address “incorrect information” about the timeline of events.
However, he confirmed that he had submitted incorrect details on his Australian travel declaration form when he entered the country and that he had violated Serbian regulations on isolation after receiving a positive test before boarding his flight.
The Australian government is reviewing whether to cancel the visa again with its extraordinary powers. All arrivals to Australia must be vaccinated, but Djokovic received a medical release after the positive test.
The original decision to deport the player was set aside by a federal court on procedural grounds on the grounds that the Australian Border Force had not acted reasonably.
Djokovic’s lawyers have provided additional information to authorities, which is delaying a decision by the immigration minister, according to the government.
Djokovic said he was not aware that he tested positive for Covid until after a meeting where he handed out awards to children on December 17. But the evidence his lawyers provided to Australian courts showed that both the test and diagnosis were issued on 16 December.
The tennis star also admitted that he attended an interview and photo shoot with L’Equipe, the French sports newspaper, on December 18, despite knowing that he tested positive. Djokovic said he was socially distanced and wore a mask except when he had his photo taken. “While I went home to the interview to isolate for the required period, it was a misjudgment on reflection,” he said.
Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told the BBC before Djokovic’s statement that if he went out knowing that he had a positive PCR test, it would be a ‘clear violation’ of the country’s rules.
Djokovic said his agent made an “administrative mistake” on the travel statement, claiming he did not travel internationally before entering Australia as he was in Serbia and Spain. “It was a human error and certainly not intentional,” he said.
The latest revelations could provide the government with more ammunition to cancel his visa again. The travel statement, submitted under Djokovic’s name, must be accurate to guarantee access to the country and contain warnings that it is a “serious offense” to provide false information.