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Australian court reinstates tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa

Tennis star Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa was reinstated by a judge on Monday, overturning the initial cancellation that followed the Serbian’s arrival last week because he was not vaccinated.

Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly also ordered the government to release Djokovic from Melbourne hotel quarantine within 30 minutes of his ruling, AP reports.

Government attorney Christopher Tran told the judge after the ruling that Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alex Hawke “will consider whether to exercise personal power to cancelation”.

Hawke has broad personal powers under the migration law to cancel Djokovic’s entry visa, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

That would mean the world number one could be sent off again and miss the Australian Open, which starts on January 17.

The Australian government canceled the visa of Djokovic, 34, shortly after arriving in Melbourne on Wednesday night to play at the Australian Open.

Border officials have ruled that it does not meet the criteria for exemption from an entry requirement that all non-citizens must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, as reported by Breitbart News.

Members of the local Serbian community gather outside a government detention center where Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic is staying in Melbourne on January 9, 2022. (WILLIAM WEST / AFP via Getty Images)

Djokovic, whose court documents show he is not vaccinated, argued that he did not need proof of vaccination because he claimed to have been infected with the coronavirus last month.

Circuit court judge Anthony Kelly noted that Djokovic had provided Melbourne airport officials with a medical exemption granted to him by Tennis Australia, which hosts the tournament, and two medical panels.

“The point that worries me a bit is what more could this man have done?” Kelly asked Djokovic’s attorney, Nick Wood.

Wood agreed with the judge that Djokovic couldn’t have done more.

A second tennis player on her way to the Australian Open – Czech doubles specialist Renata Voracova – has had her visa canceled after being initially cleared into the country.

She left Australia over the weekend after being detained in the same Melbourne center as Djokovic.

Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open champion. He holds 20 Grand Slam singles titles, a men’s record he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

AP contributed to this story

This story is developing …

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