World tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic was back in practice hours after winning a court challenge to remain in Australia on Monday, thanking the judge who released him from immigration detention and saying he remained focused on his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam win in Melbourne.
The fight over his medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination may not be over, however, as the Australian government said it was still considering another move to deport him.
“I am pleased and grateful that the judge overturned my visa cancellation,” Djokovic wrote on Twitter, where he posted a photograph of himself on court at the Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park. “Despite all that has happened I want to stay and try to compete at the Australian Open.”
Earlier Judge Anthony Kelly had ruled the federal government’s decision last week to revoke the Serbian tennis star’s visa amid was “unreasonable” and ordered his release.
“Novak is free and just a moment ago he went to the tennis court to practice,” Djokovic’s younger brother Djordje told a family news conference in Belgrade. “He’s out there to set another record.” read more
Djokovic, who arrived in Australia last week to defend his Australian Open title, had spent the day at his lawyers’ chambers.
There were chaotic scenes on Monday evening as supporters who had gathered outside the lawyers’ office chanting “Free Novak!” surged around a black car with tinted windows leaving the building, while police at one stage used pepper spray as they tried to clear a path. read more
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he was considering using his broad discretionary powers he is given by Australia’s Migration Act to again revoke Djokovic’s visa. Such a move could include a three-year ban on re-entering Australia.
“The minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing,” the spokesman said.
The controversy has been closely followed around the world, creating diplomatic tensions between Belgrade and Canberra and sparking heated debate over national vaccination rules.