Novak Djokovic Has Been Allowed into Australia But Could Still Face Consequences in Visa Debacle
Novak Djokovic is facing more legal hurdles as he attempts to play in the upcoming Australian Open.
After the tennis star was granted a visa to stay in Australia despite an initial issue with his application, Australian officials have warned they could cancel Djokovic's visa for the second time.
Government lawyer Christopher Tran told Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly, who ruled to reinstate Djokovic's visa, that immigration officials "will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancelation," according to ESPN.
If Djokovic's visa is canceled once again, the 34-year-old could face deportation and a ban from the country for three years, according to The New York Times.
The Australian Border Force is also investigating the 20-time Grand Slam winner for allegedly lying on his travel documents before his arrival in Australia, according to CNN.
The government form was reportedly included as evidence to the Australian court that decided Djokovic's visa should be reinstated and he could remain in the country after his entry into Australia was delayed last week due to issues with his application despite receiving a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption.
In the document, Djokovic declared that he had not traveled and would not for the 14 days before his arrival in Australia on Jan. 5. However, the athlete — who is lives in Monte Carlo, Monaco — appeared in various pictures during that period in Spain and Serbia, CNN reports.
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The declaration was completed by Tennis Australia using the information provided by Djokovic, according to court documents obtained by CNN.
Djokovic could face 12 months in prison if his travel declaration was falsified, according to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.
Last week, Djokovic landed in Melbourne and was denied entry after his team requested a sub-class visa, which does not apply to anyone with a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the British news outlet The Times.
The Times added that Djokovic was not able to get through passport control as a result. Border officials discovered the mistake while Djokovic was traveling to Melbourne, the outlet reported.
Djokovic's medical exception was mandatory for him to compete in the tournament, and would allow him to play regardless of his vaccination status, which he had never previously publicly confirmed.
Amid his continued legal battle and with less than a week until the Australian Open begins, Djokovic held tennis practice for the first time on Monday since leaving the Melbourne quarantine hotel where he was held for four nights until his visa was reinstated.
Djokovic shared his excitement about the tournament, which begins on Jan. 17, on social media.
"I am pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation," Djokovic wrote in the caption of his Instagram post.
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"Despite all that has happened in the past week, I want to stay and to try to compete at the Australian Open. I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans," he added. "For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong 🙏❤️🙌💪 ."