Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly reinstated Novak Djokovic’s visa on Monday, but that still doesn’t fully guarantee the tennis star’s participation in the Australian Open beginning next week.
The judge overturned the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa and ordered the government to release the Serbian from his quarantine hotel in Melbourne where he stayed for four nights.
Minister can still cancel visa
The ruling once again opens the door for Djokovic to defend his Australian Open title. Djokovic has won nine Australian Open championships in his career and holds a total of 20 Grand Slam titles, tying him with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the men’s all-time record.
One man could still prevent Djokovic from playing in Melbourne. Alex Hawke, Australia’s Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs, has the power to personally cancel the visa.
“Following today’s Federal Circuit and Family Court determination on a procedural ground, it remains within Immigration Minister Hawke’s discretion to consider canceling Mr. Djokovic’s visa under his personal power of cancellation,” a government spokesman told reporters. “The Minster is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing.”
Protestors, many waving Serbian flags, marched to the office of Djokovic’s lawyer to celebrate his legal win; some surrounded a car they mistakenly thought Djokovic was riding in. Police used pepper spray after they said some in the crowd turned violent.
Many commentators and fellow players have criticized Djokovic for his anti-vaccination stance, with some speculating that others would not be able to get the medical exemption he applied for. However, some of his contemporaries have sympathized with Djokovic due to the nature of his battle with Australian authorities.
“Beyond me agreeing or not with Djokovic on certain things, there’s no question that justice has spoken and has said that he has the right to take part in the Australian Open,” Rafael Nadal told Spain’s Onda Cero radio on Monday.
Djokovic preparing for Australian Open
Oddsmakers never counted Djokovic out of the Australian Open, though his odds have fluctuated based on the ongoing situation. FanDuel Sportsbook has reinstated Djokovic as the men’s favorite at +130 odds, just ahead of Daniil Medvedev (+135) and Alexander Zverev (+240).
Djokovic took to Twitter to tell fans that he wants to focus on the tournament, not on the legal drama.
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 @AustralianOpen
I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans. 👇 pic.twitter.com/iJVbMfQ037
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 10, 2022
“I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation,” Djokovic tweeted. “Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete Australian Open [and] I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.”
Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to have an impact on the tournament. Nick Kyrgios may miss the Australian Open after he tested positive for COVID-19 just a week before the tournament. He dropped out of the Sydney Tennis Classic on Monday due to the diagnosis.
“I am feeling healthy at the moment with no symptoms,” Kyrgios said on Instagram. “I wish everyone all the best and to stay safe where you can. If all goes well I will see you all at the Australian Open.”