Melbourne, Australia (WNews) – Novak Djokovic praised an Australian judge’s ruling allowing him to stay in the country, saying he’d turned his focus from the courtroom to defend his Grand Slam title on the tennis courts.
“I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete” in the Australian Open, Djokovic said on Twitter.
Djokovic, who has been a vocal critic of vaccinations, had been detained upon arrival in Australia last week. Australian Border Force canceled Djokovic’s visa and denied him entry into the country, threatening to deport him.
“I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete” – Novak Djokovic vis Twitter
The Australian government earlier on Monday overturned the decision to cancel the Serbian tennis star’s visa. Judge Anthony Kelly ordered the Australian government to pay for Djokovic’s legal costs, ruling that his passport be returned to him and that he be released from immigration detention within 30 minutes of the ruling.
The 34-year-old had applied for a medical exemption to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Officials questioned whether he meet the requirements for that exemption. After landing in Australia from Dubai, Djokovic was sent to the Park Hotel in inner Melbourne.
The government said in response that Djokovic’s recent COVID-19 infection didn’t qualify him for an exemption.
The judge sided with the tennis star, noting that Djokovic’s medical exemption had been provided with input from an “eminently qualified physician.”
The Australian Open is scheduled to begin on January 17.
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