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Novak Djokovic set to face further questions over false travel claims

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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player

Novak Djokovic is set to face further questions about his controversial arrival in Australia after images on social media threw into doubt his claim that he did not travel for 14 days prior to entering the country.

The world No 1 won his appeal against deportation from Australia on Monday after Judge Anthony Kelly quashed an order to cancel his visa following scrutiny of his medical exemption for the Covid vaccine.

Djokovic was questioned and detained by Australian Border Force officials after entering the country last Thursday, specifically over the medical exemption listed on his Australian Travel Declaration (ATD) form.

The Serbian, who told immigration officers that his agent completed the ATD on his behalf, returned a positive PCR result for Covid on 16 December and used that as grounds for applying for a medical exemption, which was granted according to Australian Open regulations following reviews from two independent medical panels.

Questions have emerged, however, over Djokovic’s claim he did not travel, or did not plan to travel, prior to arriving in Australia. Social media posts from Djokovic, who tested negative for Covid on 22 December, indicate the 34-year-old was in Belgrade, Serbia, on Christmas Day.

Footage has emerged, however, appearing to show Djokovic practising at a training camp in the south of Spain on 31 December, which would throw into question Djokovic’s claim that he did not travel prior to flying to Australia on 4 January.

On his ATD form, which was presented in court by Djokovic’s legal team, the answer “No” was selected under the question: “Have you travelled, or will you travel, in the 14 days prior to your flight to Australia?”

Under the question there is a note that states: “Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. You may also be liable to a civil penalty for giving false or misleading information.”

Djokovic is also facing questions about a public appearance he appeared to make in Belgrade after he returned a positive PCR result on 16 December. He was pictured attending a prize-giving ceremony for children, without wearing a mask, on 17 December at the Novak Tennis Centre.

Djokovic’s family abruptly ended a press conference on Monday when asked about whether Djokovic had attended a public event on 17 December.

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