Novak Djokovic won a major battle in his case to stay in Australia on Monday, but the unvaccinated tennis pro is likely to face questions once more. Several inconsistencies have been uncovered over the last 24 hours, with reports of potential false claims made on his immigration forms.
Though the defending champion was allowed entry into the country, the Australian government still has the last say. If it’s true that Djokovic lied on his immigration forms, they may exercise their right to deport the athlete before the start of the Australian Open on Monday, Jan. 17.
According to 34-year-old Serbian, he contracted Covid-19 on Dec. 16 and has not traveled within 14 days of entering the country, which is why he was given “medical exemption” by Tennis Australia. Since winning his case in a federal court, however, images circulating on social media have placed doubt in both of his claims.
According to Novak Djokovic’s timeline, his agent submitted his positive PCR test on Dec. 16 to Tennis Australia officials. That information was then used as part of an independent panel’s investigation into whether the unvaccinated player should be allowed to compete in the Australian Open.
It was the second time that the tennis pro contracted Covid-19. The first time was in June 2020. This time however, it was not announced to the public on social media.
“I had Covid twice, I had Covid in June 2020 and I had Covid recently in – I was tested positive – PCR –16 of Dec. 2021,” he told Australian Border Officials last Thursday.
However, photos from social media posts of two separate events, on Dec. 16 show Novak Djokovic in attendance maskless. It is not clear when he received his positive test results, but the tennis pro attended both a ceremonial event with the Serbian National Postal Service and a panel event at the Novak Tennis Centre.
The following day however, on Dec. 17, he was also pictured at the Tennis Centre awarding prizes to young children, without wearing a mask again.
In a press conference with Djokovic’s family on Monday, his brother Djordje told reporters that everything was “made public,” abruptly canceling after questions about the event on Dec. 17.
Novak said that he tested negative on Dec. 22 and stayed in the country for the required 14 days before traveling to Australia.
Footage posted to social media later refuted those claims, as video showed Novak practicing in Belgrade on Christmas Day, and then in the south of Spain on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31.
Posted by SotoTennis Academy, where Djokovic was allegedly training in Spain, the post read that, “we can confirm that @DjokerNole is ready for @AustralianOpen if possible!”
Later filling out his immigration forms, which were presented in court by Djokovic’s legal team, “No” was marked for the question: “Have you travelled, or will you travel, in the 14 days prior to your flight to Australia?”
After spending Christmas in Belgrade and, at some point, traveling to Spain for New Year’s Eve, he left on Jan. 4 to arrive in Australia on Jan. 5, way below the two weeks required by Australia’s health and safety requirements.
“Giving false or misleading information is a serious offense,” the immigration documents read under the travel question. “You may also be liable to a civil penalty for giving false or misleading information.”
Outside of possible deportation, Djokovic may face penalties such as fines or possible jail time if it’s revealed that he misled the Australian government.
Alex Hawke, Australia’s immigration minister, holds the final say to deport Djokovic and cancel his visa should his claims be proven false.
The former champion and world No. 1 has yet to comment on the recent findings.