NOVAK Djokovic has blamed his agent for wrongly filling in a form declaring he hadn’t visited any countries before arriving in Australia.
The anti-vax tennis ace has been accused of repeatedly flouting Covid rules as he arrived in Australia unjabbed – sparking an ongoing battle over whether he should be deported.
The Serbian star is facing deportation and being banned from Australia for the wrongly filling in a travel declaration.
The 34-year-old ticked a box claiming he had not travelled to any other countries in the 14 days prior to his departure for the Australian Open in Melbourne.
The Monte Carlo – based star landed in Melbourne late on January 5 to play in the Australian Open.
But social media posts showed he had spent time in Spain during that period – and was pictured practising on a tennis court in Marbella.
Now in a in Instagram post, he attributed the claim on the form to “human error” on behalf of his agent.
“On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival – and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia.”
It comes as:
- Djokovic admits breaking isolation while testing positive
- The star faces jail over the wrongly filled in travel form
- Mystery surrounds his Covid test amid claims QR code showed ‘negative result’
- Djokovic has been labelled a “lying, sneaky a**ehole” over his ongoing vaccine row.
- Andy Murray has told him to come clean over the Covid confusion
“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate. We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur.”
In the post he also confessed that he met with a journalist two days after he tested positive in Belgrade, before his arrival Down Under.
His travel declaration, published by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia earlier this week.
On its website, the Home Affairs Department warns that giving “false or misleading information” to the government is “a serious offence” carrying a possible jail term.
Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke has said a decision will not be made on Wednesday over whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa.
The minister has since Monday been considering personally intervening in the matter after Djokovic won his court battle against the Australian Border Force.
He wrote: “I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations.
“I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on December 14 after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with Covid-19.
“Despite having no Covid symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on December 16 which was negative, and out of an abundance of caution, also took an official and approved PCR test on that same day.
“The next day I attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children and took a rapid antigen test before going to the event, it was negative.
“I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test until after that event.
“The next day on Decemeber 18 I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fufil a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events.
“I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down.
“[I ensured] I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.”
Djokovic has not openly spoken about his jab status, but last year did admit that he was “opposed” to vaccination.
On January 4, the anti-vaxxer boasted he was heading to Melbourne to play at the Australian Open after being given an exemption.
But on arrival, the Serbian ace was held at an immigration centre after his visa was dramatically cancelled, and then housed in a quarantine hotel.
Lawyers for the 20-time Grand Slam winner argued that he didn’t need to have the vaccine as he had already had Covid and that border force officials hadn’t given enough notice to revoke his visa.
A judge on Monday ruled should be released from detention.
But despite a judge ruling the decision to cancel his visa was “unreasonable”, the anti-vaxxer could still be booted out of the country by the Aussie government.