After a judge overturned the government’s decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa and ordered his release, the world’s No. 1 tennis player will be allowed to defend his title at the Australian Open in Melbourne this month.
As a result of hours of deliberations, technical issues, and arguments from both sides, Justice Anthony Kelly ordered Djokovic’s possessions returned within 30 minutes of the Monday ruling.
The Australian Ministry of Home Affairs was also ordered to pay Djokovic’s legal costs by Justice Kelly.
A government lawyer says Australia’s Immigration Minister retains the right to personally intervene in the case.
According to government representative Christopher Tran, Minister Alex Hawke still retains the power to expel Djokovic from the country despite the ruling.
Djokovic said he was “pleased and grateful” with the outcome of the hearing in a tweet. “Despite everything that has happened,” he said, he still plans to compete at the Australian Open. He also thanked his supporters for standing with him and encouraging him to “stay strong.” He tweeted a photo of himself and his coaching team on a court in Melbourne.
I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened,I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen
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. 👇 pic.twitter.com/iJVbMfQ037
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 10, 2022
The defense and the government largely relied on guidelines issued by an advisory group for the federal government called the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI).
Djokovic’s Senior Counsel Nick Wood argued that past Covid infection provides a minimum of six months of natural immunity — “and therefore may be regarded as a temporary exemption from vaccination.”Djokovic understood he had been granted permission to come to Australia by the government and made repeated appeals to federal officers in Melbourne that he “had done everything that he knew was required of him in order to enter Australia.”
What Djokovic is playing for at the Australian Open