Did Novak Djokovic lie on his travel form? Australia launches investigation
- Australian authorities are investigating whether Novak Djokovic lied on travel documents
- Falsification of travel documents carries a severe penalty
- Djokovic, however, wants to stay and play the Australian Open
A day after men's tennis world number one Novak Djokovic won a court case overturning the cancellation of his Australian visa over his vaccination status, CNN has reported that the Australian Border Force (ABF) is investigating the 34-year-old for potential falsification of travel documents.
According to a travel declaration submitted as evidence to the Australian court, the Serbian tennis star had declared that he had not travelled and would avoid doing so for 14 days before his arrival at Melbourne on January 5. However, photos taken over the 14-day period in question suggest that the Serb had visited Spain from his own country.
Although Tennis Australia had filed the travel declaration on Djokovic's behalf, ABF officials have said that all the information used to file the declaration was provided by Djokovic to Tennis Australia.
While it is too early to speculate on whether Djokovic made false travel claims, it is important to note that the penalty for such falsification is severe. According to Australia's Department of Home Affairs website, the maximum penalty for submitting a false travel declaration is imprisonment for 12 months.
As it stands, there has been no official confirmation of said investigation, and Djokovic's team has declined to comment on the same.
The reported investigation into the men's tennis world number one comes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in Australia, and at a time when Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still deliberating whether to exercise his personal power to again cancel Djokovic's re-instated visa and send the Serb home.
The cancellation of Djokovic's visa and the ensuing row over the past few days had escalated into a full-blown political matter that saw Canberra and Belgrade at loggerheads with each other over Djokovic's detention at an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne.
The 34-year-old tennis star, however, has reiterated his desire to stay in Australia and compete in the Australian Open, and it remains to be seen whether he will be allowed to compete for a potential 21st Grand Slam win.