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Novak Djokovic: Questions raised over tennis star's travel declaration

Image source, Getty Images

Australian border officials are investigating whether Novak Djokovic’s travel entry form included a false declaration, Australian media report.

Djokovic’s visa was revoked on arrival in Melbourne last week before being reinstated by a judge on Monday.

But Australia’s immigration minister still has powers to re-cancel the visa and deport the unvaccinated player.

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Djokovic – who is hoping to defend his Australian Open title next week – has not commented on the latest reports.

The 34-year-old Serb player’s entry form stated he had not travelled in the 14 days before his arrival on 6 January.

Social media posts appear to show him in both Serbia and Spain during that fortnight.

Djokovic told border officials that Tennis Australia completed the Australian Travel Declaration on his behalf, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. It is not clear whether this would help him in the event it is challenged.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) did not immediately confirm the reports. Djokovic’s lawyers told the BBC they had no comment at this stage.

After being released from detention on Monday, Djokovic posted a photo of himself and his team – including coach Goran Ivanisevic – on court at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

This year’s tournament begins on 17 January and if Djokovic wins, he will become the most successful men’s player in history.

Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison spoke in a call on Monday. Neither confirmed whether Djokovic’s current visa status had been discussed.

The Federal Circuit Court reinstated Djokovic’s visa after ruling that ABF officials had not given him enough time to respond at Melbourne Airport. This constituted an unfair process, the judge said.

The court did not make a ruling on whether his reason for a medical exemption from vaccination – that he had Covid last month – was valid.

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But on Tuesday Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he was still considering whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa under separate powers in Australia’s Migration Act.

The act allows him to deport anyone he deems a potential risk to “the health, safety or good order of the Australian community”. A decision was not expected on the same day, local media reported.

The men’s professional tennis tour has called for more clarity of the rules to enter Australia and urged players to get vaccinated.

“The series of events leading to Monday’s court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including for Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open,” the ATP said.

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