Australian Government Revokes Decision To Cancel Novak Djokovic's Visa
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The Australian government has revoked its decision to cancel Novak Djokovic's visa following a court hearing, meaning the tennis player is free to leave his isolation at the Park Hotel and will likely be able to compete in the Australian Open.
The government acknowledged that it did not give Djokovic enough time to respond to its decision to cancel his visa.
Reading out a minute agreed to by both parties, Judge Anthony Kelly ordered the government to pay costs and for Djokovic to be released from quarantine in 30 minutes and have his personal effects returned to him.
The nine-time Australian Open winner may not be out of the woods yet however, as the government counsel said Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke could personally intervene and re-cancel Djokovic's visa on new grounds.
This would land Djokovic back in court where he could face being banned from Australia for three years, although he would have an option to appeal the decision.
The world number one tennis star flew into Melbourne last week after he declared he had a medical exemption for the Australian Open.
It kicked up an almighty fuss with the Aussie public and Novak was detained for several hours after arriving at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport to answer questions about his exemption.
His visa was later cancelled by the Australian Border Force and Djokovic's team launched an appeal that wound up in Melbourne Federal Circuit Court today (January 10).
Djokovic's lawyers revealed the grounds for the tennis player's exemption were that he had recently contracted Covid, having received a positive PCR test on 16 December.
The judge revealed that he was somewhat 'agitated' by the tennis player's situation.
Judge Anthony Kelly told the court: "A professor and an eminently qualified physician have produced a medical exemption [for Djokovic].
"Further, that medical exemption and basis on which it has been given was separately given by an independent ... panel established by the Victorian state government.
"That document was in the hands of the delegate [Home Affairs]. What more could this man have done?"
Novak's lawyer, Nick Wood SC, explained how the world number one did everything in his power to meet the demands of Australian authorities.
He explained how Djokovic was only supposed to declare whether he was vaccinated against Covid-19, unvaccinated or had a medical contraindication when he arrived in the country.
"That declaration was made that he had a medical contraindication," Wood said. "He was not required to provide evidence, even though as a matter of fact, he did."