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Nine-time Australian Open winner and defending champion Novak Djokovic won his court battle against the Australian government regarding the revocation of his visa on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. He is a Serbian professional tennis champion and is currently ranked number one globally by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
Djokovic’s visa was revoked last week after his arrival to Australia, where he was blocked from entry by border police. Government officials said the tennis star violated the Australian vaccine mandate that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated. Officials stated he did not meet the requirements for an exemption.
Before his arrival, Djokovic had already received an exemption from Australian vaccination rules from Victoria state authorities and Australian Open organizers.
His lawyers argued that since he recently recovered from COVID-19 and had evidence of the infection with the coronavirus last month, the vaccine mandate did not apply to him. Medical authorities in Australia have ruled that people who have been infected with COVID-19 within six months can receive a temporary exemption to the vaccination rule. Djokovic has been vocal against vaccines and is unvaccinated, according to court documents.
Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly ruled Djokovic’s visa be reinstated and be released immediately from the quarantine hotel in Melbourne where he has been staying. He tweeted a photo of him standing in the court where the Australia Open will be hosted after the verdict. In the post, the tennis champion stated:
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.
Christoper Tran, the lawyer for the Australian government, informed the judge that the immigration minister “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation.” This would mean that Djokovic could miss the Australia Open, which starts on January 17, and be barred from the country for the next three years.
Written by Ebonee Stevenson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Associated Press: Australian judge says Djokovic can stay but saga not over; by Rod McGuirk and Mark D. Baker
New York Magazine: Novak Djokovic Beats Australia (For Now); by Matt Stieb and Benjamin Hart
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Yann Caradec’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Rexness’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License