In a fresh twist, Novak Djokovic has claimed that he received a letter from the Australian immigration department days before he left for Melbourne saying his papers were in order.
According to Federal Circuit Court documents released on Saturday evening, Djokovic’s lawyers claimed the letter, dated January 1, said he met the requirements to travel to Australia quarantine-free because he had tested positive for the virus in December.
The World No 1 was granted visa to enter Australia on November 18 and received a medical exemption ceritficate from Tennis Australia on December 30
That exemption noted that he had tested positive for the virus on December 16.
A day after the positive test, on December 17, he posted images on social media at a Serbian government ceremony being honoured with his own postage stamp.
An honor to receive my very own Serbian stamp. Thank you to my generous country for this rare gift! I’m humbled!! Excited to share we’ll partner with the Serbian National Postal Service on @novakfoundation projects for every child to have the opportunity to attend preschool 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/Ww8Zma95NU
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) December 17, 2021
But the case gets murkier as it has emerged that according to an official Australian Open document, players had to send in the paper work for medical exemption on December 10.
Djokovic, who did not conform to Australian Open’s vaccine mandate, thus would not be eligible to apply for the exemption as he was yet to test positive for the virus. That was eventually used as the basis for his exemption.
The Serb star was detained on arrival in Melbourne and his visa was cancelled by the Australian Border Force. He has challenged that decision in court and is awaiting a hearing on Monday.
In the legal documents, Djokovic, who is in immigration detention at the Park Hotel, has claimed that he was denied access to his legal team during the interviews at the Melbourne airport.
He has also claimed the decision by the Home department is “seriously illogical, irrational or legally unreasonable”.
The Australian Open begins on January 17. The Serb will be aiming for his 10th title in Melbourne and record-breaking 21st Grand Slam crown.