Djokovic explained that there was an “administrative error” in his travel declaration completed by his staff. By mistake, he said, the tennis officials were told to tick “no” when asked if he had traveled elsewhere in the 14 days prior to arriving in Australia.
“It’s a human mistake and it was definitely not on purpose,” assured the best tennis player. “We live in difficult times of a global pandemic and sometimes such errors can arise.”
The Serb, who is targeting a record 21 Grand Slam title in Melbourne, added that his lawyers provided additional information to the Australian government on Wednesday to clarify the case.
Incorrectly filling in the travel form or providing misleading information is a crime in Australia for which a penalty of up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to AU $ 6,600 (approximately PLN 19,000) may be invalidated by the perpetrator’s visa.
What’s next for Djokovic?
Serb has not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 and has not met the requirements of the organizers of the event, which will start on January 17. He was exempted from this obligation on medical grounds, but after arriving in Australia on Wednesday evening, his visa was revoked and, straight from the airport, he was taken to a hotel in a suburb of Melbourne, where asylum seekers are also accommodated.
His lawyers challenged the authorities’ decision and a hearing was held on Monday, where Judge Anthony Kelly ordered the immediate release of Djoković, who was detained at the hotel, finding the decision to revoke his visa “unreasonable”.
Tennis visa can still be revoked. The local minister of immigration has the right to do so. The decision is to be made on Wednesday.
Australia has a strict entry policy for foreigners – they must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with the exception of the medical exemption presented by Djoković, but his documents have not been recognized.