'Not deliberate': Novak Djokovic speaks out over border form 'error'

·3-min read
Novak Djokovic, pictured here in Serbia before he travelled to Australia.
Novak Djokovic is facing fresh scrutiny over a question on his border entry form. Image: Twitter

Novak Djokovic has spoken out over a 'mistake' on his travel declaration form to get into Australia, admitting to a 'human error' that some claimed was a lie.

Fresh questions were raised over the tennis star's application to enter the country after documents released by Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly revealed Djokovic told authorities he had not travelled in the 14 days before his flight to Australia.

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Djokovic touched down in Melbourne just before midnight last Wednesday and answered "no" to the question about previous travel on his Australian Travel Declaration form.

However that answer came under scrutiny after he was filmed playing tennis in the streets of the Serbian capital Belgrade on Christmas Day and training in Spain on December 31 - both within the 14-day window.

The travel declaration notes that giving false or misleading information is a serious offence, while civil penalties are also available.

On the Home Affairs Department website, it states that giving false or misleading information carries a possible jail term and "the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 12 months."

Djokovic told immigration officers that Tennis Australia had completed the declaration on his behalf.

However it was noted by the officer who cancelled his visa that TA would have facilitated that "based on information the visa holder provided".

A journalist, pictured here looking at a computer screen showing a copy of Novak Djokovic's border entry form.
A journalist looks at a computer screen showing a copy of Novak Djokovic's border entry form. (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)

On Wednesday afternoon, Djokovic addressed the issue.

"My agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box," he wrote on social media.

"This was a human error and certainly not deliberate.

"My team has provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify this matter."

Novak Djokovic still facing possible deportation

Djokovic has also faced scrutiny after court documents revealed he tested positive to Covid-19 on December 16, days before he was photographed unmasked at public events including a trophy presentation for junior players.

The 34-year-old, who admitted to immigration authorities he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, returned a negative PCR test on December 22.

On Tuesday, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he still weighing up whether to use his discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic's visa and deport him.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here speaking with his team during a training session in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic speaks with his team during a training session in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open. (Photo by KELLY DEFINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Hawke is still yet to make a decision on whether Djokovic should be deported after Monday's decision by a federal court to overturn the tennis star's visa cancellation.

In a statement, a spokesman for the minister said the situation surrounding the tennis star was being closely examined.

"In line with due process, Minister Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter," the spokesman said.

"As the issue is ongoing, for legal reasons it is inappropriate to comment further."

Should such a discretionary decision be made, Djokovic could be banned from entering the country for three years.

with AAP

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