Djokovic admits he made ‘mistakes’ while fighting to avoid deportation from Australia

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Novak Djokovic admitted on Wednesday there was a “mistake” in his travel letter and his decision not to self-isolate after being diagnosed with coronavirus. This came about as he tried to stay in Australia to compete in the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament, where he had the mission to win his 21st Grand Slam title.

World number one said his team has provided the Australian government with new information and is considering whether to revoke his visa again and deport him from the country.

“In a global pandemic, we are living in tough times and sometimes mistakes can happen,” the 34-year-old unvaccinated player said while training on the field for the Australian Open, which will start on Monday.

The Serbian star flew to Melbourne a week ago and claimed that he was exempted from Australia’s vaccination obligation due to a positive PCR test result on 16 December.

Serbian Novak Djokovic rests during pre-Australian Open practice at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, January 11, 2022. (Photo: Tennis Australia/Scott Barbour, via REUTERS)

The border agency denied his release, saying that the cause of the recent COVID-19 infection was not suitable. The officer even tore up his visa and put him in a detention center.

But Djokovic’s strong legal team, which is skeptical of vaccines, significantly overturned the visa decision Monday in court on procedural issues related to airport staff interviews.

Now, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has said he is considering revoking the visa at a later date as new doubts arise.

‘Predicted Error’

Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic described reports of his post-infection performance in Serbia as “false information”.

The day after testing positive in Serbia, Djokovic took part in a youth tennis event and the launch of a postage stamp with his picture as part of the tennis player’s memory. On both occasions, Djokovic was seen performing without a mask.

Djokovic admitted that he only got the results of the PCR test after he participated in children’s tennis.

However, he also admitted that he continued interviews and photo shoots with the French sports newspaper L’Equipe on 18 December.

“I don’t want to disappoint journalists, but I feel compelled to do L’Equipe interviews because I make sure I keep my distance and wear a mask except when my picture is taken,” he said.

Serbian Novak Djokovic trains at the Rod Laver Arena before the Australian Open in Melbourne Park on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo: via AP)

Serbian Novak Djokovic trains at the Rod Laver Arena before the Australian Open in Melbourne Park on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo: via AP)

“As a reflection, this was a bad decision and I acknowledge that I needed to reschedule this commitment.”

The tennis player also admitted to an error in her travel statement to Australia, where a box was ticked stating she had not or will not travel in the 14 days before flying to Melbourne.

In fact, social media posts and reports show that he flew from Serbia to Spain at that time.

“This was forwarded on my behalf by my support team,” Djokovic said.

“My representative sincerely apologizes for the administrative error caused by ticking the wrong box about my trip prior to my arrival in Australia. It was a human error and was certainly not intentional.”

Meanwhile, in the Australian media on Wednesday 12/1, there was a news report from the German newspaper Der Siegel that cast doubt on the positive test of the tennis star.

Der Spiegel said that Djokovic scanned the QR code on the Serbian PCR test, which was said to have given a negative result, but a different result was obtained when the scan showed a positive result an hour later.

Der Spiegel’s report could not be independently verified, and Djokovic (12/1) did not address the issue on Wednesday. [ah/rs]

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