Novak Djokovic has been released from immigration detention after the Federal Court overturned the Australian Government’s decision to cancel the visa of the Serbian tennis star.
The Federal Circuit Court judge Anthony Kelly ordered the immediate release of the World No 1 and asked the Australian government to pay for his legal costs.
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Djokovic, 34, has been held in an immigration detention hotel alongside long-term asylum seeker detainees since Thursday.
Novak vs the world. We've seen that before. This is different.
If he ends up defending his title and getting to 21 slams, it'll be one of the greatest tennis stories ever told
— Somdev Devvarman (@SomdevD) January 10, 2022
But the Serb is still not certain to defend his Australian Open title.
Australian government’s counsel, Christopher Tran, has revealed the immigration minister will consider exercising a personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa. And he can do so without giving a reason.
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The decision now under consideration to cancel Djokovic’s visa anew would result in him being excluded from Australia for three years – significantly upping the stakes in a bizarre border row.
On Monday, Djokovic’s lawyers argued that the Serb entered the country on the understanding that his medical exemption was valid.
Judge Kelly solving the mess-disaster-absurdity that other parties involved have created. Tennis wins 🎾 #AO2022
— Feliciano López (@feliciano_lopez) January 10, 2022
Though Djokovic is not inoculated he was granted medical exemption on the grounds that he had recently tested positive for the virus.
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His lawyer told the court that the exemption had been granted to the player by two separate medical boards following a recent coronavirus infection and that he had presented all the necessary medical evidence to officials.
“He had done absolutely everything. He had engaged with everything that was required of him by Tennis Australia,” Nick Wood said.
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Judge Kelly also said it was “unreasonable” for Australian Border Force officials to interview Djokovic on Thursday morning and cancel his visa shortly after 7.40am.
They had agreed to give him until 8.30am to speak to officials and respond to the proposed visa cancellation.
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“We all play by the same rules,” Judge Kelly said. “Stated in other terms: those rules were not observed.”