Daily US Times: Tennis star Novak Djokovic has admitted there were mistakes on his immigration forms and to meeting a journalist despite testing positive for Covid, as Australia mulls deporting him.
Djokovic made the admissions in an Instagram post to clarify “ongoing misinformation” about his movements.
The men’s tennis number one is hoping to play in the Australian Open next week.
But his participation has been overshadowed by the row over his visa.
Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, had his visa revoked on 6 January shortly after arriving in Australia amid questions over the vaccine exemption that would have permitted him to enter.
On Monday, however, a judge dramatically overturned the decision and ordered the release of the player from detention.
But the government has not ruled out further action – and the possibility remains that the country’s immigration minister could cancel his visa for a second time just days before the tournament begins.
Alex Hawke could cancel the visa based on prior Covid infections not counting as an exemption. But Djokovic’s visa could also be cancelled on “character grounds” based on an investigation into his arrival form and potential breaches of Serbia’s Covid rules.
If Djokovic wins the Australian Open – his 21st grand slam – he would become the most successful male tennis player in history.
In his Instagram post, Djokovic said he had gone ahead with the interview for French title L’Equipe because he had not wanted to “let the journalist down”.
“[I ensured] I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken,” he said.
L’Equipe confirmed in an article that the tennis star had worn a mask the entire time, even when their reporter asked him to take it off for five minutes.
The journalist, Franck Ramella, said he had been told not to ask Djokovic about his vaccination status or the forthcoming Australian Open so “therefore did not ask if he had considered doing a test“.
On Wednesday, the International Tennis Writers Association described the incident as “deeply concerning” in a statement to CNN.
“As journalists, we take great care to adhere to all Covid-19 rules in place and we expect all players to do the same,” said Simon Chambers, co-president of the group.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that journalists have to be fully vaccinated to travel to Melbourne for this year’s Australian Open,” he added.