Novak Djokovic is free to leave his immigration detention hotel with immediate effect. This comes after the Federal Circuit Court overruled the original decision to have his visa cancelled. The world number-1 will have his passport returned to him, and must be released immediately.
Trolls embitter proceedings
It’s been a frustrating day for everyone involved in the hearing. There were connection issues and when that was resolved, trolls infiltrated the public Microsoft Teams meeting. Users flooded the meeting, with some claiming to be members of the Serbian press. The cyberbullies played folk music, as well as pornographic videos.
After all of the disruptions, Judge Anthony Kelly ordered the government to release Djokovic from hotel quarantine within 30-minutes of his ruling. The Australian Circuit Court Judge also reinstated the 9-time Australian Open champion’s visa.
It’s not over just yet
Though the ruling was in favour of the vaccine-hesitant tennis star, he could still face deportation. Government lawyer Christopher Tran confirmed that the Minister for Immigration, Alex Hawke, “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation.”
That could see Novak Djokovic again face immigration detention and deportation.
The 34-year old is unvaccinated and was not given the assurance of entry into Australia without being fully inoculated. Government Lawyers confirmed as much in their court findings ahead of the hearing.
Djokovic’s legal team meanwhile broke the news that he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16, and argued that he met the requirements for quarantine free travel into Australia. They further confirmed that Djokovic had not had a fever or any respiratory symptoms in the 72-hours leading up to his medical exemption application.
The news of Novak’s Covid-19 infection also ignited controversy online. This comes after the Serbian made public appearances around the same time as his positive PCR test. On 14 December he attended a Euroleague Basketball game. He sat courtside without a mask.
Just a couple of days later, he received a commemorative stamp in his honour at an event hosted by the Serbian National Postal Service.