The Australian Border Pressure is investigating irrespective of whether Novak Djokovic improperly declared he had not travelled and would not do so for two months before his flight to Australia, in the hottest twist in the tennis star’s visa cancellation saga.
Thoughts have been elevated about the declaration finished by an agent for Djokovic, with social media posts seemingly showing he was in Belgrade on Xmas Working day right before traveling to Australia from Spain on 4 January.
On Tuesday, the Australian key minister, Scott Morrison, obtained a phone from his Serbian counterpart, Ana Brnabić, in which he sought to deal with the diplomatic fallout of the overturned visa cancellation by insisting Australia’s border insurance policies had been non-discriminatory.
Irrespective of a gain in courtroom restoring his visa on Monday, Djokovic’s fate will now be established by Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, owing to his particular electricity to once again cancel the visa and deport the world’s No 1 male tennis star.
Any determination to recancel the visa would likely be satisfied by a contemporary legal problem from Djokovic, and a ask for for an injunction to keep out of immigration detention so that he could engage in in the Australian Open up, where he is chasing a male file 21st grand slam singles title.
In buy to recancel the visa, Hawke would have to be satisfied of a ground for cancellation, this sort of as a threat to general public safety, and that cancellation is in the public curiosity.
That could convey fresh new scrutiny to Djokovic’s pre-journey declaration and his community appearances in the days right after his favourable Covid check consequence of 16 December.
In his Australian traveller declaration, filed on 1 January, Djokovic declared “no” when questioned: “Have you travelled or will you journey in the 14 times prior to your flight to Australia?”
The declaration is accompanied with a warning that offering phony or misleading info is a “serious offence”, also punishable by civil penalties.
In documents submitted to the federal circuit courtroom, Djokovic mentioned that on 1 January he authorised his agent to post this declaration, right before travelling to Melbourne from Spain by means of Dubai on 4 January.
In his job interview with border force officials on 6 January Djokovic verified the declaration was accomplished by his agent, “based on” his Tennis Australia-authorized health-related exemption, but was not questioned in the job interview about travel in the fortnight ahead of arrival.
A Twitter publish by a Portuguese tennis reporter, Jose Morgado, seems to present Djokovic was in Belgrade at Xmas, posing with the handball star Petar Djordjic.
Djokovic was also pictured taking part in tennis in the streets of Belgrade in a put up from 26 December.
Djokovic flew from Spain to Melbourne, exactly where he arrived at 11.30pm on 5 January.
Questioned if the travel declaration could present contemporary grounds to terminate Djokovic’s visa, a spokesman for Hawke responded that he is however looking at no matter if to work out his power to do so.
“In line with owing process, minister Hawke will extensively look at the subject. As the concern is ongoing, for authorized reasons it is inappropriate to comment more.”
The vacation declaration arrives on top rated of noted anomalies on the official web page exhibiting Djokovic’s favourable covid take a look at, which was the foundation for his claimed professional medical exemption from vaccination. Der Spiegel documented that the QR code linked to Djokovic’s Covid-19 test on 16 December, released in courtroom paperwork on Monday, at times appeared to return a negative outcome.
According to Der Spiegel, accessing Djokovic’s test outcome through QR code on Monday night Australia time uncovered a destructive check final result, prior to a subsequent try showed a favourable result.
The web-site returned only constructive final results when accessed by the Guardian on Tuesday.
The New York Times reporter Ben Rothenberg likewise documented finding contradictory effects from the same QR code.
Sights in the Australian governing administration are blended on whether or not it should really implement a zero tolerance solution on the requirement to be vaccinated and reject Djokovic’s exemption centered on his the latest Covid take a look at final result.
A spokesman for Morrison mentioned he had a “constructive call with primary minister Brnabić this morning on Novak Djokovic”.
“The PM described our non-discriminatory border policy and its role in protecting Australia all through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They both equally agreed to remain in get hold of on the issue, and to even further strengthening the bilateral connection.”
Previous week Morrison vacillated on the concern, at first deferring to the Victorian point out government about no matter if Djokovic should really be allowed in without quarantine, in advance of backflipping to declare “rules are rules” and the vaccination requirement have to be enforced.
In a statement on Tuesday the ATP tour stated while it absolutely revered Australia’s “stringent immigration policies” it was “clear Novak Djokovic believed he experienced been granted a essential health-related exemption in buy to comply with entry regulations”.
“The collection of situations main to Monday’s courtroom hearing have been damaging on all fronts, such as for Novak’s very well-remaining and preparation for the Australian Open.”
In a assertion on Tuesday Djokovic’s lawyers, Hall and Wilcox, confirmed he attended the listening to at their Melbourne workplace even with the firm’s policy necessitating a Covid-19 vaccination for the reason that of “a health-related exemption permitted by our Covid officer and running partner”.
Djokovic’s agent and lawyers have been contacted for remark.