(NEW YORK) — Tennis star Novak Djokovic may have won Monday’s court battle to appeal his visa cancellation, but his tussle with the Australian government doesn’t appear to be over just yet.
Australian authorities are looking into whether Djokovic lied on his Travel Declaration Form, and Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is weighing whether to use discretionary powers to revoke the Serb’s visa, days before the defending champion is set to play in the Australian Open which begins on Jan. 17.
Every traveler needs to submit the document before entering the country. They must declare whether they have travelled or intend to travel in the 14 days before arrival.
Djokovic declared that he had not travelled in the two weeks before his arrival, according to documents submitted to the court.
He flew to Australia from Spain via Dubai on Jan. 4, meaning that he would have had to stay in Spain for 14 days ahead of his arrival on Jan. 5.
But at least one post online appeared to suggest he was in Serbia over Christmas. On Dec. 25, Serbian handball player Petar Djordjic posted a photo on instagram alongside Djokovic, with the caption: “ONE AND ONLY!!!!! Thank you for the picture and for the nice wishes.”
The travel declaration discrepancy seems to be a main point of investigation for Hawke, the immigration minister, who is “thoroughly” considering whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa under a section of Australia’s Migration Act.
In a statement given Wednesday morning local time, Hawke said: “Mr. Djokovic’s lawyers have recently provided lengthy further submissions and supporting documentation said to be relevant to the possible cancellation of Mr Djokovic’s visa. Naturally, this will affect the timeframe for a decision.”
In a statement to ABC News, the Australian Border Force said it would not comment on operational matters, adding that, “Providing false or misleading information or documentation to the Commonwealth can lead to visa cancellation and/or attract penalties, including under criminal law.”
Djokovic, the world’s top tennis star, was denied entry when he landed last Wednesday, Jan. 6. The 34-year-old had applied for a medical exemption to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements. But officials questioned whether he meet the requirements for that exemption.
He was placed into immigration detention in the Park Hotel in inner Melbourne until Monday, when a judge ruled he could stay in the country.
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