'This is false': Authorities shoot down massive Novak Djokovic claim

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·Sports Editor
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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
Novak Djokovic, pictured here during a practice session at Melbourne Park.
Novak Djokovic looks on during a practice session at Melbourne Park. (Photo by MIKE FREY/AFP via Getty Images)

Spanish authorities have shot down reports that Novak Djokovic is under investigation for entering the country illegally.

Spanish publication COPE reported on Thursday that agencies are looking into the tennis star's trip to Spain in December.

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Djokovic was spotted training in Marbella in late December as he ramped up his preparations for the Australian Open.

The Soho Tennis Academy, which uses the same court surface used at Melbourne Park, tweeted a number of videos of Djokovic using their facilities.

Tennis reporter Gaspar Ribeiro Lanca tweeted on Thursday: “COPE reports that the Spanish Government is now investigating whether unvaccinated Novak Djokovic entered the country illegally in late December.

“Since September 20, citizens from Serbia need a vaccine certificate OR a special exemption to enter Spanish territory but so far the authorities say they did not receive any request from Djokovic.”

However Spanish authorities reportedly shot down those claims later on Thursday.

“The news is false," a spokesperson for Spain’s interior ministry told Politico.

"Neither the government has ordered it nor is there any police investigation open on the athlete."

Djokovic reportedly bought a house in Marbella in 2020, meaning he might be considered a resident under Spanish law.

American writer Ben Rothenberg tweeted: "'Unvaccinated tourists' are not allowed to enter Spain, so if he doesn't have resident status he'd need to prove travel was 'essential'."

Novak Djokovic, pictured here training in Spain in late December.
Novak Djokovic was seen training in Spain in late December. Image: AAP

Novak Djokovic still under investigation in Australia

But while Djokovic might be off the hook in Spain, he is still in the gun of Australian authorities.

The trip to Spain is part of Australia's investigation into Djokovic after he ticked 'no' to a question on a travel declaration form about whether he had travelled in the 14 days prior to coming to Australia.

Djokovic was spotted in both Serbia and Spain in the 14-day window, but Djokovic claims his agent mistakenly ticked the wrong box.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still yet to make a decision on whether to use his discretionary powers to deport the Serbian tennis star, with a decision expected on Friday.

When asked about whether Djokovic would have his visa cancelled, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there had been no change on the issue.

"I will refer to Mr Hawke's most recent statement, and that position hasn't changed," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"These are personal ministerial powers, able to be exercised by Minister Hawke, and I don't propose to make any further comment at this time."

The unvaccinated Djokovic is reportedly determined to continue the fight should the verdict go against him.

Multiple reports suggest that the government is leaning towards revoking the visa again and that Djokovic's lawyers would immediately launch a legal appeal over any attempt at deportation, with the start of the Australian Open less than 72 hours away.

with AAP

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