Australian judge reinstates tennis star Djokovic’s visa

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – An Australian judge has reinstated tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa, which was canceled after his arrival last week because he was not vaccinated.

Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly also ordered the government on Monday to release Djokovic from Melbourne hotel quarantine within 30 minutes of his ruling.

Government attorney Christopher Tran told the judge after the ruling that Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alex Hawke “will consider whether to exercise personal power to cancelation”.

That would mean Djokovic could face expulsion again and could miss the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.

The Australian government canceled the visa of Djokovic, 34, shortly after arriving in Melbourne on Wednesday night to play at the Australian Open, as officials ruled he did not meet the criteria for exemption from the Australian Open. ‘an entry condition that all non-citizens must be fully immunized. for COVID-19.

Djokovic, whose court documents indicate he is not vaccinated, argued that he did not need proof of vaccination because he had proof that he had been infected with the coronavirus last month.

Australian medical authorities have decided that a temporary exemption from the vaccination rule can be granted to people infected with COVID-19 within six months.

Circuit court judge Anthony Kelly noted that Djokovic had provided Melbourne airport officials with a medical exemption granted by Tennis Australia, which hosts the tournament which begins on January 17, and two medical panels.

“The point that worries me a bit is what more could this man have done?” Kelly asked Djokovic’s attorney, Nick Wood.

Wood agreed with the judge that Djokovic couldn’t have done more.

Transcripts of Djokovic’s interview with border officials and his own affidavit revealed a “repeated appeal to the officers with whom he dealt that to his knowledge, without question, he had done absolutely everything he believed was necessary so he can enter Australia, “Wood said.

Djokovic has been under surveillance in quarantine at the hotel in Melbourne since Thursday, when his visa was canceled.

But the judge ordered the world No.1 ranked tennis player to be released from hotel quarantine during his court hearing. It was not clear where Djokovic moved during his hearing. He did not appear onscreen in the early hours of the virtual audience.

Djokovic’s lawyers presented 11 grounds for appeal against the cancellation of his visa. Lawyers called the cancellation “seriously illogical”, irrational and legally unreasonable.

Lawyers for Home Secretary Karen Andres said in their brief that if the judge ruled in favor of Djokovic, authorities could revoke his visa a second time.

They said the vaccination requirement could only be deferred for arriving travelers who have had COVID-19 infection if their illness is acute.

“There is no indication that the claimant (Djokovic) was suffering from” severe and acute illness “in December” when he tested positive, according to the written submission.

The virtual audience crashed multiple times due to an overwhelming number of people around the world trying to watch the proceedings.

At one point, an expired forensic link was apparently hacked and disseminated pornography, The New Daily News website reported.

Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open champion. He holds 20 Grand Slam singles titles, a men’s record he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.


McGuirk reported from Canberra. Associated Press journalists John Pye and Dennis Passa in Brisbane and Tom Moldoveanu in Melbourne contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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