Novak Djokovic wins appeal against deportation from Australia

Photo: Sky News

Novak Djokovic has prevailed in his appeal against deportation from Australia, with a judge ordering his immediate release from hotel quarantine.

Previously, border officials determined that the tennis star did not qualify for a COVID exemption from entry rules.

Djokovic had spent four nights in a Melbourne immigration detention hotel before the virtual hearing, which began at approximately 10 a.m. local time.

The court overturned an airport employee's determination that he did not meet the threshold for an exemption from the requirement that all non-Australians be completely vaccinated.

Djokovic supplied officials with a medical exemption granted by Tennis Australia and two medical panels, Judge Anthony Kelly remarked.

"The point I'm somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?" Mr. Kelly enquired of Djokovic's attorney, Nick Wood.

However, it is possible that this is not the end of the row.

Djokovic's situation sparked political controversy after Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that "rules are rules" and that any arriving passenger was responsible for adhering to border restrictions.

Mr. Morrison was then accused of using the matter to boost his popularity in the run-up to impending elections.

Djokovic's attorneys contended that he should have been admitted because he had "been recently infected with COVID in December 2021 and on this basis... was entitled to a medical exemption per Australian government rules and guidance."

They filed documents demonstrating that Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 last month and subsequently recovered.

They revealed that on December 30, the 34-year-old received a letter from Tennis Australia's chief medical officer "recording that he had been provided with a 'medical exemption from COVID vaccination' because he had recently recovered from COVID."

It stated that Djokovic's first positive test occurred on December 16 and that on the date of issuance, the player "had not had a fever or respiratory symptoms in the past 72 hours."

Unmasked images

The day after his lawyers announced he tested positive for the virus, photos emerged showing the unmasked world number one with underage players.

It is unknown whether Djokovic was aware of his test findings at the time.

He was presented with a stamp by the Serbian postal service at the country's communications museum in Belgrade on the day he tested positive - December 16 - an occasion he tweeted about the following day.

On January 4, he tweeted that he had "spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break" and was presently on his way "Down Under with an exemption permit."

The Australian Department of Home Affairs relied on its argument that it had not assured Djokovic that a medical exemption he claimed he required to enter Australia without receiving a COVID-19 immunization would be allowed.

His situation has polarized opinion, particularly in Australia, where he has nine times won the championship.

After nearly missing out on a calendar grand slam of the four major titles in 2021, he is sure to be eager to play and attempt to pass Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer for the most significant titles.

The competition officially begins on January 17.

'Deprived of sleep and under duress.'

However, the last few days have complicated matters, with his attorneys alleging that he was sleep-deprived and under pressure from Australian officials to terminate his visa.

He was also forced to remain at the Park Hotel, which doubles as an immigration detention facility, where he could not obtain the gluten-free meals and exercise equipment he requested for an extended period.

Publish : 2022-01-10 13:31:00

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