Novak Djokovic wins court case against Australian visa cancellation, set to be released from detention

World No 1 male tennis player Novak Djokovic on Monday won his appeal against being denied a visa to enter Australia.

FP Sports January 10, 2022 12:19:03 IST
Novak Djokovic wins court case against Australian visa cancellation, set to be released from detention

Serbia's Novak Djokovic is now free to play in Australian Open 2022. AP

World No 1 male tennis player Novak Djokovic on Monday won his appeal against being denied a visa to enter Australia.

Judge Anthony Kelly ordered the release of the athlete from the detention in 30 minutes after the court heard the visa case. The court also ordered the Australian government to cover all costs related to the appeal.

Djokovic was fighting deportation and the cancellation of his visa in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

A government lawyer, however, warned Australia may yet use ministerial powers to order Djokovic's removal from the country, which would result in him being banned for three years.

With the Australian government facing a humiliating and high profile defeat, lawyer Christopher Tran informed the judge that immigration minister Alex Hawke may step in with executive powers.

"I'm instructed (the minister) will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation," he said.

The Australian government canceled Djokovic's visa shortly after he arrived in Melbourne late Wednesday because officials decided he didn’t meet the criteria for an exemption to an entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Djokovic, who court documents say is unvaccinated, argued he did not need proof of vaccination because he had evidence that he had been infected with the coronavirus last month.

Australian medical authorities have ruled that a temporary exemption for the vaccination rule can be provided to people who have been infected with COVID-19 within six months.

Djokovic has been under guard in hotel quarantine in Melbourne since Thursday, when his visa was canceled.

'Not human conditions'

The court's finding, read out in an online hearing, recalled that Djokovic was interviewed overnight at Melbourne airport after his arrival late on Wednesday night.

In the early hours of the next morning, the player was told he had until 8:30 am to reply to the proposed cancellation of his visa. But instead, the border agent cancelled it at 7:42 am.

If Djokovic had been given until 8:30 am as first promised, "he could have consulted others and made submissions to the delegate about why his visa should not be cancelled," the judge said.

Though the hearing was held online, a small group of Djokovic fans gathered outside the federal court building, waving a Serbian flag, holding up a photo of their hero and dancing to the tune of an accordion.

Earlier, at a rally in Belgrade, Djokovic's mother Dijana claimed her son was staying "in not human conditions" during his four-night stay at the detention centre.

"They detained him and even don't give him breakfast, he has only lunch and dinner," she said, quoted by local media.

"He does not have a normal window, he stares at a wall."

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said this weekend that after "constructive talks" with her Australian counterpart "we managed that he gets gluten-free food, exercise equipment, a laptop."

Though it had no bearing on his court case, Djokovic's claim of a positive test on 16 December stirred controversy after it emerged he had attended a gathering that day for the Serbian national postal service launching a stamp series in his honour.

Pictures shared by the Belgrade tennis federation also showed him at a young players' event in the city on 17 December.

It reported that he had handed over cups and prizes to players. No one was wearing a mask.

Another tennis player — Czech doubles specialist Renata Voracova — has also had her visa cancelled after obtaining a medical exemption.

She flew out of Australia on Saturday after being held in the same Melbourne centre as Djokovic.

With AP and AFP inputs

Read all the Latest NewsTrending News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Updated Date:

also read

No escaping 'best in world' Carlos Alcaraz is heir to idol Rafael Nadal
Sports

No escaping 'best in world' Carlos Alcaraz is heir to idol Rafael Nadal

Carlos Alcaraz, who only turned 19 last Thursday, became the first player to beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on clay at the same tournament on his way to a second Masters 1000 title in Madrid.

Madrid Open: Carlos Alcaraz overpowers Rafael Nadal to set up Novak Djokovic semi-final clash
Sports

Madrid Open: Carlos Alcaraz overpowers Rafael Nadal to set up Novak Djokovic semi-final clash

Novak Djokovic defeated Hubert Hurkacz to reach semi-final and will next face Carlos Alcaraz.

Italian Open: Novak Djokovic claims sixth title in Rome; Iga Swiatek makes it five in a row
Sports

Italian Open: Novak Djokovic claims sixth title in Rome; Iga Swiatek makes it five in a row

Novak Djokovic won his sixth Italian Open title after a straight-sets victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5) in Rome.