Novak Djokovic will defend his Australian Open title after all. An Australian court, on Monday, pronounced that the world No.1 has a valid entry visa that cannot be cancelled. Judge Anthony Kelly ruled that Djokovic’s visa cancellation should be revoked immediately and that he was to be released within 30 minutes of the judgement.
The counsel to Djokovic, Nicholas Wood, had argued that the Serb met all necessary requirements for quarantine-free travel, and that border officials failed to give valid notice of the government’s intention to revoke his visa.
Judge Kelly agreed that the Australian government had failed to give valid notice of the intention to cancel Djokovic’s visa because of the Covid-19 vaccination status. Though the government asked for an adjournment, when they came back, it was to withdraw their case.
Djokovic flew into Australia via Melbourne Airport on Thursday to begin preparation for his title defence and quest to become the first man to win 21 Grand Slam titles. But he was arrested and detained at the airport before being transferred to the Park Hotel, an immigration detention centre.
Though there could be another twist in the saga as the government lawyer, Chris Tran, revealed that Australia’s immigration minister has ‘powers’ to cancel Djokovic’s visa. If the Australian government decides to go that route, Djokovic will be disallowed from entering the country for three years.
The first Grand Slam of the year serves off on January 17 and runs until January 30.
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