QUESTION marks hang over how Novak Djokovic was able to enter Spain ahead of his trip to Australia as a video shows him training in Marbella.
The anti-vaxxer has been subject to a barrage of backlash this week over claims he has repeatedly broken Covid measures – with the tennis ace admitting he defied isolation rules in Serbia.
Before jetting off to Oz on January 5, Djokovic was spotted in Serbia on December 25 and caught on camera in Spain days later on December 31.
But the question of how the unvaccinated 34-year-old had been permitted entry and gone on to train in Marbella, where he owns a home and his brother Marko lives, remained unclear today.
Serbian residents wanting to enter Spain currently have to show they are fully-vaccinated or obtain an exemption from the Spanish government and show proof of a negative Covid test.
The Spanish Embassy in Serbia advises people wanting to obtain an exemption to contact them in writing.
Spanish media have questioned how Djokovic could qualify for an exemption when the only clause they speculated could apply to him is one allowing participants in “high level” sporting competitions to enter Spain
But he was only seen training on the Costa del Sol and is not believed to have competed.
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A video shared by SotoTennis Academy is based in Sotogrande shows Djokovic practising on a court on December 31.
And Brit Sharon Rodden, 58, told how she spotted the tennis superstar practising at the Puente Romano Beach Resort in Marbella the day before.
The psychological therapist, from Manchester, told The Sun: “I was out walking when I recognised him and stopped to get a video on my phone.
“My footage shows he was definitely in Spain that day – soon after he was pictured in Serbia within the 14 days.
“He looked fit and agile and clearly wasn’t expecting the furore that’s unfolded – but if he’s made a false declaration on his visa form he should accept the consequences.”
It's unclear where Djokovic lists his official residence as he was living with his family in Monte Carlo but last year bought a luxury villa on an upmarket residential estate in the hills above Marbella near to a tennis club where he regularly trains.
The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs source confirmed today neither the tennis star nor anyone from his team had contacted the Spanish Embassy in Belgrade about any exemption.
Asked how Djokovic might have satisfied customs officials he should be allowed into the country, the source said: "We don't have more information about this issue."
But the Spanish government has rubbished reports it is investigating Djokovic over his entry into Spain before he flew to Australia.
Spanish police have also denied claims they have been asked to probe whether the tennis star broke the country’s Covid entry rules.
It comes as the tennis still faces deportation from Australian over not being vaccinated and for submitting a false travel declaration.
Djokovic’s PR team has declined to comment, citing the case’s "sensitivity and complexity".
The Serb admitted he broke isolation rules after testing positive for Covid-19 and said it was an "error of judgement".
In an Instagram post the Serbian tennis star has confessed that he met with a journalist two days after he tested positive in Belgrade, before his arrival Down Under.
He wrote: "I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations.
"I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on December 14 after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with Covid-19.
"Despite having no Covid symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on December 16 which was negative, and out of an abundance of caution, also took an official and approved PCR test on that same day.
"The next day I attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children and took a rapid antigen test before going to the event, it was negative.
"I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test until after that event.
"The next day on Decemeber 18 I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfil a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events.
"I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L'Equipe interview as I didn't want to let the journalist down.
"[I ensured] I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken."
Djokovic's statement also addressed the huge error in his travel declaration, published by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia earlier this week.
The anti-vaxxer ticked a box claiming he had not travelled to any other countries in the 14 days prior to his departure for the Australian Open in Melbourne.
He attributed it to "human error" on behalf of his agent.
"On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival – and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia."
"This was a human error and certainly not deliberate. We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur."
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