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Djokovic wins visa appeal but Australian Open berth still in doubt

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Novak Djokovic has won the first round of his battle to play the Australian Open after a judge quashed Canberra’s decision to deny the world No 1 tennis player a visa.

Djokovic, 34, was released on Monday after spending a week in Melbourne immigration detention. Judge Anthony Kelly also ordered the Australian government to pay his costs since the government acknowledged that Djokovic was not given enough time to respond to his visa cancellation.

Djokovic’s lawyer Nick Wood told the court that the Serbian tennis star entered the country on the understanding that he was exempt from restrictions that require travellers to be fully vaccinated.

The government’s lawyer, Christopher Tran, protested that Djokovic's recent Covid infection did not qualify him for an exemption from travel rules that applied to everyone.

Djokovic has said he had tested positive for Covid twice – in June 2020 and on December 16 2021.

However, the tennis great is not yet guaranteed a berth in the season’s opening grand slam. Tran also revealed that Australia’s immigration minister could still exercise his power to cancel Djokovic’s visa.

Published : January 10, 2022

By : THE NATION