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21st May 2022

Novak Djokovic ‘Pleased And Grateful’ Over Court’s Ruling

Novak Djokovic 'Pleased And Grateful' Over Court's Ruling
Novak Djokovic 'Pleased And Grateful' Over Court's Ruling

Serbian Novak Djokovic has reacted to Monday’s verdict where an Australian Judge ruled to overturn his Visa cancellation over his covid-19 saga at the airport, saying he is pleased and grateful over the outcome.

Novak Djokovic taking to his official social media handle to speak on the verdict that overturned his visa cancellation, stated that he is focused on playing in the Australian Open next week.

The 34-year-old Serb said he practised on the court in Melbourne within hours of leaving an immigration detention hotel.

But Australia’s immigration minister still has powers to re-cancel the visa and deport the unvaccinated player.

Novak Djokovic posted a photo of himself and his team on the court at the Rod Laver Arena, where he has won a record nine men’s singles titles, saying:

“I am pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened in the past week, I want to stay and to try to compete at the Australian Open,” he said.

He continued:
” I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans. For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong,” he added.

It is still not guaranteed Djokovic will be able to step onto the court next week, when he is set to start the defence of his title.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke is still considering revoking Djokovic’s visa. The MP is able to act using broad discretionary powers granted him by Australia’s Migration Act.

A spokesman for Mr Hawke said the decision was an “ongoing process”. An announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday.

Before Monday’s ruling, Djokovic’s lawyers had argued that his treatment by Australian Border Force officers after his arrival was “manifestly unjust”.

After being approached by officials at the airport, he asked to wait until the morning to hear from his team before deciding whether to leave the country. This was initially agreed to by officials.

He then went to sleep, but was woken up around 06:00 by officers who allegedly pressured him to respond “because it was better for him if they made the decision right away”.

Government lawyer Christopher Tran argued that Djokovic’s recent Covid infection did not qualify him for an exemption from travel rules, and denied there was any unfairness or unreasonableness in the decision.

Though Djokovic has not spoken publicly about his vaccination status, in his interview with border officials he confirms he is not vaccinated.

He told the interviewer that he tested positive for Covid twice – in June 2020 and on 16 December 2021. Copies of his positive PCR tests were provided to the interviewer – one was issued on the 16 December 2021, a day before Djokovic appeared at public events without a mask.

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