Australian Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly reinstated tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa, allowing him to play in the Australian Open, starting January 17.
When Djokovic landed in Melbourne late Wednesday night, the Australian government publically canceled his visa exemption to the requirement that all who enter the country be fully vaccinated from Covid-19. The Australian government claimed Djokovic’s exemption was legally revoked because he didn’t specify that he had a major medical illness in December 2021, only that he had tested positive with Covid.
According to the Daily Mail, the Australian government argued: “There is no suggestion that the applicant had ‘acute major medical illness’ in December 2021. All he has said is that he tested positive for Covid… That is not the same. Thus the ATAGI Vaccination Advice uses different terms, such as mere ‘past infection’ and also ‘symptomatic infection.”
Australian medical authorities also held Djokovic in the State-run quarantine facility despite the tennis star providing proof of his exemption given to him by Tennis Australia.
Judge Kelly asked Djokovi’s lawyer, Nick Wood, what more could he have done to gain entry into Australia with an exemption.
“A professor and qualified physician have provided the applicant a medical exemption, the basis of which was given by a further independent expert specialist panel established by the Victorian state government… that document was in the hands of the delegate,” Judge Kelly said.
“The point I’m somewhat agitated about is, what more could this man have done?”
Wood responded, citing the released transcripts of Djokovic’s immigration interview showing him repeatedly explaining to the Border Force officers to his knowledge there was nothing else that was required of 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 @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. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete [in the]Australian Open. 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.
For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong.”
After Djokovic’s appeal, the Home Affairs Minister Karen Andres’ council, Christopher Tran, told Judge Kelly that despite his ruling, the administration still had the authority to cancel Djokovic’s visa a second time and would “exercise a personal power of cancelation” if they felt it was appropriate.
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