Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Novak Djokovic tweeted a photo of himself training at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. to win a court challenge Monday to stay in Australia.

However, the battle over his medical release of COVID-19 vaccination may not be over, as the Australian government has said it is considering another step to deport him.

“I am glad and grateful that the judge reversed my visa cancellation,” Djokovic wrote on Twitter. “Despite everything that has happened, I want to stay and try to take part in the Australian Open.”

Earlier this week, Judge Anthony Kelly ruled that the federal government’s decision to revoke the Serbian tennis star’s visa was “unreasonable” and ordered his release.

The player’s family said his release was the “biggest win of his life”.

“Novak is free and just a moment ago he went to the tennis court to practice,” Djokovic’s brother, Djordje, told a family news conference in Belgrade.

“He is out there to set another record. He is an athlete and the best tennis player in the world of all time. Novak has always advocated freedom of choice, nothing more. The Djokovic family is happy that justice has prevailed. “

Novak Djokovic's familyNovak Djokovic’s father Srdjan, middle, brother Djordje, right, and mother Dijana attend a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia [Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo]

Djokovic himself, who arrived in Australia last week in pursuit of a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open starting on January 17, spent the day at his bar.

Minister considers revoking visa

There were chaotic scenes on Monday night while supporters gathered outside the law firm and shouted “Free Novak!” sang. swung around a black car with tinted windows that left the building, while police at one point used pepper spray when they tried to open a path.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he was considering using his broad discretionary powers given to her by Australia’s Migration Act to revoke Djokovic’s visa.

The controversy has been closely followed around the world, creating diplomatic tensions between Belgrade and Canberra and sparking heated debate over national vaccination rules.

Serbia’s parliamentary speaker Ivica Dacic said he was concerned Hawke could still deport Djokovic, a move that would ban the 34-year-old from the country for three years.

“The trial should have ended when the court ruled on the matter,” Dacic told Serbia’s Happy TV. “It challenges common sense.”

Spanish rival Rafa Nadal called the drama surrounding the build-up to the tournament a “circus”.

“Whether I agree with Djokovic on some things or not, justice has spoken and said he has the right to take part in the Australian Open and I think that is the fairest decision,” Nadal told Spanish radio Onda Cero.

Judge Kelly set aside the decision to block Djokovic’s access to Australia because the player was not given enough time to speak to tennis organizers and lawyers to respond fully after being notified of his intention to visa to cancel.

Officials at Melbourne Airport, where Djokovic was detained late on Wednesday, have declined an agreement to give Djokovic until 08:30 to speak to tournament organizer Tennis Australia and lawyers, Kelly said.

Djokovic was rather woken up by officials around 6am after a brief hiatus and said he felt pressured to respond. The player, long an opponent of compulsory vaccination, told border officials he was unvaccinated and had COVID-19 twice, according to a transcript of the interview.

Medical release

Kelly had earlier told the court it appeared Djokovic had sought and received the required medical release of COVID-19 vaccination on the grounds that he had contracted the virus last month. He provided evidence of this before traveling to Melbourne and landing on Wednesday night.

“What more could this man have done?” Kelly said.

Kelly’s ruling did not directly address the issue of whether the release was valid due to an infection in the past six months, which the government disputed.

Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, said earlier that his organization had been talking to federal and government officials for months to ensure the safe passage of players. Tennis Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although the news of the verdict with drums and dancing was greeted by some 50 supporters outside Melbourne court, the wider public opinion in Australia, where more than 90 per cent of the adult population was vaccinated double, was largely against the player.

Blake Johnson, 7 news Melbourne’s sports correspondent, said the way the saga was expanding was “not particularly enjoyable for everyone involved”.

“There seems to have been serious mistakes or at least miscommunication,” Johnson told Al Jazeera.

“It essentially left one of the world’s best tennis players in limbo and now kind of legally falls between the mature – and you can probably argue ethically as well.”

Emotions ran particularly high in Melbourne, which experienced the world’s longest cumulative closure.

The country’s COVID-19 cases surpassed one million on Monday, with more than half recorded in the past week, raising hospitalization numbers, straining supply chains and overloading test facilities.

The saga kicked off when Djokovic posted a photo of himself leaning on his luggage on Instagram last Tuesday, telling the world that he was on his way to Australia with a vaccination release.

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