He attributed the error on his agent making an innocent mistake, but could reportedly potentially face a jail sentence if authorities believe he deliberately attempted to mislead officials.
Djokovic is hell-bent on landing an unprecedented 21st Grand Slam title down under, which would take him clear of fellow joint-record holders Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, but if he’s forbidden from playing in the Australian Open it is not just records he’s likely to miss out on.
The star is said to be worth around £161 million, and alongside his own business ventures, enjoys lucrative sponsorship deals with companies like Lacoste, Asics, Peugeot, and Swiss watch brand Hublot – worth a reported £22m.
However, Tim Crow, a UK sports marketing consultant, has warned that Djokovic has potentially created a loophole for his backers to cancel contracts if he’s deemed to have behaved inappropriately.
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He told AP News that sponsors have to determine whether an athlete acted illegally or immorally if they want to try to use a bad behavior exit clause in a contract, although added in Djokovic’s case the notion was “pretty nuanced.”
Ceyda Mumcu however, professor of sports management at the University of New Haven, believes if Djokovic does play in – and subsequently win – the tournament at Melbourne Park then there his little chance of him losing any endorsements.
“He will be labeled as the most successful male player of all time, and I think that provides a reason for sponsors to be more willing to take that risk and remain with the athlete,” she said.
His main sponsors have thus far been quiet on the explosive saga, although Hublot have released a statement pledging to continue their sponsorship: “Novak Djokovic is his own person,” they said.