Novak Djokovic released a statement on Wednesday to “clarify misinformation,” which included discrepancies in an Australian travel document used last week to enter the country, as Australian officials consider whether he should be deported.
The unvaccinated tennis star, whose visa was initially rejected last week but the decision was overturned by a judge, is hoping to win his 21st grand slam singles title at the Australian Open which begins on Monday.
In Djokovic’s new statement released on Instagram, he addressed a travel document error, which claimed he had not traveled internationally for two weeks prior to arriving in Australia. The Number One-ranked male tennis champion said his agent made an “administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box.”
“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate,” he wrote. “We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur.” His travel declaration appeared to conflict with social media images of him traveling between Spain and Serbia.
He also addressed questions surrounding when he tested positive for Covid-19 in Serbia, which was the basis for his request for an exemption to Australia’s stringent requirement that visitors be vaccinated.
In his post, he said he attended a basketball game in Belgrade on Dec. 14, and said he took a rapid antigen test and PCR test on Dec. 16 after some attendees tested positive. He said he did not have symptoms and the rapid test was negative. While awaiting the PCR results on Dec. 17 he said he took another rapid test that was also negative before attending a tennis event “to present awards to children.” He said after that event, he received a positive PCR result. The date in his new statement also appears to conflict with documents he provided to Australian officials that claimed his positive result came in the day prior, as The New York Times reports.
Despite testing positive, the next day he participated in an interview and photo shoot “to fulfill a longstanding commitment,” he said, adding, “this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.”
Djokovic has been practicing at Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park ahead of the Australian Open.